HB 258: "An Act establishing the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 258 01 "An Act establishing the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." 02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section 04 to read: 05 LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the intent of the legislature that the Commission for 06 the Deaf and Hard of Hearing obtain, within five years after the commission is established, 07 funding from sources other than the general fund to support the operation of the commission 08 so as not to reduce the level of state funds presently available for services for persons who are 09 deaf or hard of hearing. 10 * Sec. 2. AS 36.30.850(b) is amended by adding a new paragraph to read: 11 (49) contracts for equipment and services entered into by the 12 Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing under AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.550. 13 * Sec. 3. AS 44.21 is amended by adding new sections to read: 14 Article 7. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 15 Sec. 44.21.510. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. (a) The
01 Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is established in the Department of 02 Administration to coordinate and improve access to services and provide advocacy 03 and outreach for persons in the state who are deaf or hard of hearing. 04 (b) The commission consists of seven members appointed by the governor as 05 follows: 06 (1) four members who are deaf or hard of hearing; 07 (2) one member who is a parent of a person who is deaf or hard of 08 hearing; 09 (3) one member who is an officer or employee of a private or 10 municipal organization that provides services to persons who are deaf or hard of 11 hearing; and 12 (4) one member who is an employee of a state agency that provides 13 services to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. 14 (c) The commission shall, by majority vote of the membership, elect a chair 15 and other officers the commission considers necessary from among its membership to 16 serve on a yearly basis. 17 (d) The commissioner of administration shall, upon request of the executive 18 director of the commission, provide for the assignment of additional temporary or 19 permanent personnel to the commission that are necessary for the commission to 20 exercise its powers under AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.550. 21 Sec. 44.21.520. Term of office and compensation. (a) The term of office of 22 each member of the commission is three years. If a vacancy occurs on the 23 commission, the governor shall appoint a successor to serve the unexpired portion of 24 the term. 25 (b) Members of the commission serve without compensation, but are entitled 26 to per diem and travel expenses authorized for boards and commissions under 27 AS 39.20.180. 28 Sec. 44.21.530. Duties of the commission. The commission shall 29 (1) serve as a clearinghouse of public information for consumers, 30 public and private entities, and the general public on issues related to the deaf and hard 31 of hearing community;
01 (2) expand and improve the availability of telecommunications 02 equipment and accessories for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind; 03 (3) provide outreach services to promote compliance with federal, 04 state, and local accessibility laws and regulations by collaborating with consumers, 05 public and private entities, and other stakeholders to develop policy; 06 (4) develop strategies for systematic change and programs in 07 government and community agencies and organizations to improve communication 08 access for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing; 09 (5) provide an educational and informational program through printed 10 materials, workshops and training sessions, presentations, and public awareness events 11 about hearing loss for people in the state; the program must include information about 12 referral services, lending libraries, services and resources, interpreters, accessibility 13 and accommodation issues, assistive technology, empowerment issues, obligations of 14 service providers for and employers of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, 15 educational options, and current federal and state laws and policies regarding hearing 16 loss; 17 (6) cooperate with public, private, and government agencies to 18 coordinate programs for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing; 19 (7) provide technical assistance, consultation, and training to 20 individuals or organizations who intend to start or enhance programs and services for 21 persons who are deaf or hard of hearing; 22 (8) evaluate and monitor state programs that deliver services to persons 23 who are deaf or hard of hearing to determine their effectiveness; identify and promote 24 new programs and services when necessary; make recommendations to public officials 25 about changes necessary to improve the quality and delivery of services, programs, 26 and activities; 27 (9) make funding recommendations to the legislature regarding new or 28 existing programs for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing; 29 (10) review, evaluate, and make recommendations to state agencies, 30 the legislature, and the governor regarding laws and regulations that affect persons 31 who are deaf or hard of hearing;
01 (11) promote cooperation among state and local agencies that provide 02 educational programs for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing; 03 (12) establish standards, by regulation, relating to the evaluation, 04 certification, licensure, and training of interpreters for persons who are deaf or hard of 05 hearing; 06 (13) complete an annual report describing the activities of the 07 commission and submit the report, on or before January 1, to the governor, the senate 08 secretary, and the chief clerk of the house of representatives and notify the legislature 09 that the report is available. 10 Sec. 44.21.540. Powers of the commission. The commission may 11 (1) adopt regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of 12 AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.550; 13 (2) work with the Department of Education and Early Development, 14 the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, school districts, and other public 15 and private entities to ensure the continuation of interpreter education programs 16 designed to increase the number of qualified and competent interpreters for persons 17 who are deaf or hard of hearing in the state; 18 (3) employ an executive director; 19 (4) obtain equipment, including teletypewriter machines and 20 videophones, and services, including interpreter services, necessary for the 21 commission to exercise its powers under AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.550; 22 (5) apply for and accept grants or donations to assist the commission in 23 carrying out the purposes of AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.550. 24 Sec. 44.21.550. Definitions. In AS 44.21.510 - 44.21.550, 25 (1) "commission" means the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of 26 Hearing; 27 (2) "deaf" means unable to hear and understand speech such that a 28 person's primary mode of communication is through American Sign Language or 29 another sign language, lip reading, gestures, or writing; 30 (3) "hard of hearing" means partial loss of hearing in one or both ears, 31 resulting in difficulty hearing and understanding speech in the affected ear.