|Issuer:||William F. Weld|
|Mass Register:||No. 749|
Table of Contents
WHEREAS, the provision of comprehensive and state-of-the-art vocational services can enable individuals who are blind to pursue meaningful careers by securing gainful employment commensurate with their abilities and capacities; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth provides comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind through the state-federal programs authorized by the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1992 by P.L. 102-569 (the "Rehabilitation Act"); and
WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is the state agency designated to provide such vocational rehabilitation services to persons who are blind; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act, individuals who are blind, and their advocates should be involved on a regular basis and in a meaningful manner with respect to policy development and implementation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, William F. Weld, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:
Section 1. A Rehabilitation Advisory Council ("Council") is hereby established to advise the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind on the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for persons who are blind, in compliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act.
Council Composition and Operations
Section 2. (A) The Council is established within the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.
(B) The Council shall consist of twenty-one (21) members appointed by the Governor. Each member of the Council shall serve for a term of not more than three (3) years and no member of the Council may serve more than two (2) consecutive full terms. Members shall be appointed to staggered, renewable three (3) year terms except that in making the original appointments, the Governor shall appoint one third (1/3) of the members to serve for one (1) year, one third (1/3) of the members to serve for two (2) years, and the remaining members to serve for three (3) years. Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the Council shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
(C) A majority of the Council members shall be persons who are individuals with disabilities and who are not employed by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. The Council members shall include:
(1) one representative of the Statewide Independent Living Council established under section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act;
(2) one representative of a parent training and information center established pursuant to section 631(c)(9) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1431 (c)(9);
(3) one representative of the Client Assistance Program established under section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act;
(4) one vocational rehabilitation counselor who has knowledge of and experience with vocational rehabilitation programs;
(5) one representative of community rehabilitation service providers;
(6) four representatives from business, labor, and industry;
(7) representatives of disability advocacy groups who represent individuals who are blind; and parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of individuals who are blind and have multiple disabilities, and have difficulty in representing themselves or are unable to represent themselves due to their disabilities;
(8) current or former applicants for, or recipients of vocational rehabilitations services;
(9) the Commissioner of the Commission for the Blind, who shall serve as an ex officio member of the Council.
Section 3. (A) The Council shall select a chairperson from among its members.
(B) The Council shall convene at least four (4) meetings a year and conduct such forums or hearings as the Council considers appropriate. Meetings, hearings and forums shall be publicly announced and shall be open and accessible to the general public.
(C) Members of the Council shall abide by the provisions of the Massachusetts conflict of interest law, Chapter 268A.
Section 4. The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind is authorized and directed to provide administrative support to the Council as necessary. Council members shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for their reasonable and necessary expenses as provided for in the Rehabilitation Act and subject to the annual appropriation and allocation of federal funds in conjunction with any annual contribution by the Commonwealth.
Section 5. The Council shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
(A) Advise the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind regarding the performance of its responsibilities for administering a vocational rehabilitation program under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act, particularly with respect to its responsibilities relating to eligibility and the extent, scope, and effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation services provided;
(B) Advise the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind concerning functions performed by state agencies that affect the ability of individuals who are blind to achieve vocational rehabilitation goals and objectives;
(C) Advise the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind concerning the preparation of grant applications, the state plan for vocational rehabilitation services and the strategic plan and amendments thereto, and reports, needs assessments and evaluations required by Title I of the Rehabilitation Act;
(D) Conduct a review and analysis of consumer satisfaction with vocational rehabilitation services and functions performed by state agencies and other private and public entities that serve persons who are blind;
(E) Prepare and submit an annual report to the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Governor on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs operated within Massachusetts and make the report available to the public;
(F) Coordinate with other organizations within Massachusetts that plan or oversee the provision of services for persons who are blind, including the Statewide Independent Living Council established under Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act, the advisory panel established under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Massachusetts Mental Health Planning Council;
(G) Advise the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind concerning coordination and establishment of working relationships between the Commission and the Statewide Independent Living Council and centers for independent living within Massachusetts.
Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 26th day of September in the year one thousand nine hundred and ninety-four.
William F. Weld, Governor
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Michael Joseph Connolly
Secretary of the Commonwealth