Executive Order

Executive Order No. 590: Establishing a Statewide Independent Living Council

Date: 12/11/2019
Issuer: Governor Charlie Baker
Mass Register: No. 1407
Revoking: Executive Order No. 373

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is committed to empowering people with disabilities through the provision of independent living services that maximize the independence and productivity of individuals with disabilities and promote their integration into the community;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth provides independent living services to individuals with disabilities through the state-federal programs authorized by the Federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 2015 by P .L. 114-95 (the “Rehabilitation Act”);

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind are the two state agencies within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services of the Commonwealth that provide independent living services through the state-federal programs authorized by the Rehabilitation Act;

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act, individuals with disabilities should be involved in planning and reviewing the independent living program and services provided thereunder through the establishment of a Statewide Independent Living Council (the “Council”);

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth established the Council under Executive Order 373 in 1994 in order to advise and assist in planning for the provision of independent living services to individuals with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, authorizes a single state entity to act on behalf of the state in the administration of the State Plan for Independent Living, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is recognized as the single designated state entity and will act in coordination with other state agencies providing services to individuals with disabilities;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § 1, Art. 1, do hereby revoke Executive Order No. 373 and order as follows:


Section 1. The Statewide Independent Living Council (“Council”) is hereby established on the updated terms specified below to participate in planning with and advising the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind concerning the provision of independent living services for persons with disabilities, in compliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act.

Council Composition and Operations

Section 2. (A) The Council shall consist of at least sixteen voting members and at least three non-voting ex officio members. Voting Council members shall be appointed by the Governor. A quorum shall be a majority of the voting and ex officio members serving on the Council. Each voting member of the Council shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and for a term of not more than three years and no member of the Council may serve more than two consecutive full terms; provided, however, that members shall continue in their positions until such time as they are re-appointed or until a successor member is appointed. Voting members shall be appointed to staggered, renewable 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 year, one third (1/3) of the members to serve for two years, and the remaining members to serve for three years. Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the Council shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(B) Council members shall be persons who are knowledgeable about centers for independent living and independent living services and shall include a broad representation of individuals with a range of physical, cognitive and behavioral disabilities from across the Commonwealth. The majority of Council members: (i) shall be persons who are individuals with disabilities and (ii) shall not be employed by a Commonwealth agency or an independent living center.

The Council shall include:

(1) As voting members, one director of an independent living center selected from a list of three candidates nominated by the Massachusetts Association of Independent Living Centers;

(2) As voting members, at least five representatives from independent living centers;

(3) As ex officio, nonvoting members: the Commissioner of Rehabilitation or a designee, the Commissioner for the Blind or a designee, the Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability or a designee, and representatives from any state agency that provides services for individuals with disabilities.

Voting members of the Council may include:

(1) Other members from centers for independent living;

(2) Individuals with disabilities;

(3) Parents, guardians and siblings of individuals with disabilities;

(4) Representatives from private businesses;

(5) Representatives from organizations that provide services for individuals with disabilities.

Section 3. (A) The Council shall select a chairperson from among its voting members.

(B) The Council shall convene at least four meetings a year and shall conduct such forums or hearings as the Council considers appropriate. Meetings, hearings, and forums shall be conducted in a manner consistent with all applicable provisions of General Laws chapter 30A.

(C) The Council members shall abide by the Massachusetts conflict of interest law, General Laws chapter 268A.

Section 4. 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. The Council shall plan in conjunction with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission to obtain and manage the resources necessary to carry out the work of the Council.


Section 5. The Council shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

  1. Jointly develop the State Plan for Independent Living in conjunction with directors of the centers for independent living and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission after receiving public input from individuals with disabilities and other stakeholders throughout the state. The State Plan shall be signed by the Chairperson of the Council, acting on behalf of the Council and the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
  2. Upon authorization of the State Plan, the Council shall submit the Plan to the Independent Living Administration, under the Administration for Community Living (or its successor agency) in accordance with federal law.
  3. Monitor, review, and evaluate implementation of the State Independent Living Plan;

(D) Coordinate activities with the state Rehabilitation Advisory Councils and other state councils that address the needs of specific individuals with disabilities and disability issues under other federal laws;

(E) Submit to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration such reports as requested and maintain the records needed to verify such reports;

(F) Carry out such other duties and responsibilities as may be required by the Rehabilitation Act.

Section 6. This Executive Order takes effect immediately and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded, or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.


Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 11th day of December in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-three.

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