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Substitute Senate Bill No. 322

Public Act No. 04-90

AN ACT CONCERNING THE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND SERVICES FOR THE BLIND.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-293 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) The Board of Education and Services for the Blind shall consist of seven members, six of whom shall be appointed by the Governor and shall be residents of this state. The Commissioner of Social Services shall be a member, ex officio. [The other six members , two of whom shall be blind persons, shall be appointed by the Governor, and each shall be a resident of this state. ] One of the members appointed by the Governor shall be the parent of a child who receives services provided by the board, and not less than two of the members appointed by the Governor shall be blind persons. The Governor may, for reasonable cause, remove any [appointive] appointed member and appoint another person to fill the vacancy for the unexpired portion of the term. [Said] The board shall meet annually in the month of September and may meet at any other time upon the call of its director; and the director shall call a meeting at the request of two members. Any appointed member who fails to attend three consecutive meetings or fifty per cent of all meetings held during any calendar year shall be deemed to have resigned. A majority of the members in office shall constitute a quorum. The board shall adopt rules for its own action and regulations for determining what persons shall receive benefits under the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The Board of Education and Services for the Blind shall be within the Department of Social Services for administrative purposes only.

Sec. 2. Section 3 of public act 03-217 is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There is established a council to monitor the activities of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind in carrying out its mission and statutorily prescribed duties.

(b) The council shall consist of the following members:

(1) One appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, [one] who [shall be] is a person with expertise in business administration and financial management;

(2) One appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, who is a representative of a state-wide organization that represents the interests of the blind;

(3) One appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, who is an adult with blindness;

[(3)] (4) One appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives who is an adult with blindness, receiving services from the Board of Education and Services for the Blind;

(5) One appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, who is an adult with blindness;

[(4)] (6) One appointed by the minority leader of the Senate who is an adult with blindness, receiving services from the Board of Education and Services for the Blind;

[(5)] (7) The chairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services, or their designees;

[(6)] (8) The chairpersons of the [legislative program and review committee] Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, or their designees;

[(7)] (9) The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee;

[(8)] (10) The Commissioner of [the Department of] Social Services, or the commissioner's designee;

[(9)] (11) The Commissioner of [the Department of] Education, or the commissioner's designee;

[(10)] (12) The executive director of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind, or the director's designee.

(c) Any member of the council appointed under subdivision [(5) or (6)] (7) or (8) of subsection (b) of this section may be a member of the General Assembly.

(d) All appointments to the council shall be made no later than thirty days after the effective date of this section. Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority.

(e) The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate shall select the chairpersons of the council, from among the members of the council. Such chairpersons shall schedule the first meeting of the council, which shall be held not later than July 1, 2003. The council shall meet at least monthly thereafter until February 1, [2004] 2005, and shall terminate not later than July 1, [2004] 2005.

(f) The council, in consultation with the Board of Education and Services for the Blind shall establish benchmarks concerning agency management, operations and services. The council shall: (1) Monitor the activities of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind regarding: (A) The quality, efficiency and equity of (i) educational services for children who are blind or visually impaired, (ii) home and daily living skills services for persons who are blind, (iii) vocational rehabilitation services and programs for persons who are blind, (iv) outreach efforts to identify and provide information and services to elderly persons who are blind, (B) the provision of employment training and experience in a competitive work environment and availability of the broadest employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals who are blind, (C) the development and implementation of strategic planning efforts, (D) the accountability of fiscal operations, including, but not limited to, the preparation of a detailed program budget and expenditure reports, (E) agency implementation of the administrative recommendations contained in the December, 2002 Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee on the Board of Education and Services vending operations; and (2) develop recommendations for proposed changes in the organizational structure of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind.

(g) Not later than February 1, [2004] 2005, the council shall submit a report on the progress made by the Board of Education and Services for the Blind in meeting benchmarks established by the council to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services, appropriations and the budgets of state agencies and education, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. Such report shall also include legislative proposals and recommendations for proposed changes in the organizational structure of the Board of Education and Services for the Blind.

(h) Failure by the Board of Education and Services for the Blind to meet specific benchmarks established by the council may result in the transfer of authority and related funding for deficient programs and services to another state agency.

Approved May 10, 2004