Introduced Version House Bill 2634 History

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H. B. 2634

(By Delegate Beane)

[Introduced February 24, 2005; referred to the

Committee on Government Organization.]

A BILL to amend and reenact §5-14-2, §5-14-3, §5-14-5 and §5-14-6 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to removal of the requirement that the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing maintain a register of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and conduct and maintain a census of both populations in West Virginia; and making technical changes.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §5-14-2, §5-14-3, §5-14-5 and §5-14-6 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:


§5-14-2. Definitions.
As used in this article:
(a) "Deaf" means severe to profound impairment of the sense of hearing whereby the understanding of speech is unattainable through the ear alone with or without amplification, and visual communication is used as the primary mode of communication.
(b) "Hard-of-hearing "Hard of hearing" means significant impairment to the sense of hearing, but not to the extent that the person must rely primarily on visual communication.
(c) "Hearing-impaired" means persons who are either deaf or hard-of-hearing hard of hearing.
§5-14-3. Continuation of Commission; membership.
(a) The West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing Hard of Hearing is hereby continued within the Department of Health and Human Resources consisting of seventeen persons, eight of whom shall serve ex officio. The remaining members are appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Commission shall meet no less than four times annually. All meetings and activities held by the Commission shall be attended by at least two qualified interpreters who shall be hired at the Commission's expense or provided free of charge by agencies, organizations or individuals willing to volunteer qualified interpreters. The members are:
(1) (b) The members are: The Secretary or his or her designee, of the Department of Health and Human Resources, or his or her designee; the Commissioner or his or her designee, of the Division of Labor, or his or her designee; the director Commissioner or his or her designee, of the division of health Bureau for Public Health, or his or her designee; the State Superintendent of Schools or his or her designee, of the State Board of Education, or his or her designee; the Director or his or her designee, of the Division of Rehabilitation Services, or his or her designee; the director or his or her designee, Commissioner
of the division of handicapped children's services in the Division of Human Services, or his or her designee; the Chairman or his or her designee, of the Advisory Council for the Education of Exceptional Children, or his or her designee; and the Superintendent or his or her designee, of the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, or his or her designee, all of whom serve ex officio and with full voting privileges.
(2) (c) The Governor shall appoint nine persons appointed by the Governor, at least five of whom are deaf or hard-of-hearing hard of hearing, one of whom is the parent of a deaf child, one of whom is a certified teacher of the hearing-impaired, one audiologist and one otolaryngologist. Of the five deaf people, at least three shall be selected from a list of five people recommended by the Board of the West Virginia Association of the Deaf.
§5-14-5. Powers and duties of the Commission; information clearinghouse; coordination of interpreters; outreach programs; seminars and training sessions.

The commission shall maintain a complete register of persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in the state. For each hearing-impaired person, the register shall describe the condition and cause of the hearing problem, the person's capacity for education and industrial training and any other facts the commission considers valuable. Identifying information contained in the register is confidential: Provided, That information collected and maintained in the register will be available upon request to other government agencies in order to facilitate services to their hearing-impaired clients. Every health, educational and social agency and physician or other medical professional serving hearing-impaired individuals shall report to the commission, in writing, the name, age and residence of persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
In addition to the register, the commission is responsible for conducting and maintaining a census of both the deaf and hard-of-hearing populations in West Virginia. Such census shall contain state, county and city figures.
(a) The Commission shall maintain a clearinghouse of information, the purpose of which is to aid hearing-impaired persons and others in obtaining appropriate services or information about such services, including, but not limited to, education, communication (including interpreters), group home facilities, independent living skills, recreational facilities, employment, vocational training, health and mental health services, substance abuse and other services necessary to assure their ability to function in society. The Commission shall consult existing public and private agencies and organizations in compiling and maintaining the clearinghouse.
(b) The Commission shall establish, maintain and coordinate a statewide service to provide courts, state and local legislative bodies and others with a list of qualified and certified interpreters for the deaf and a list of qualified and certified teachers of American sign language.
(c) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall promulgate rules pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code for the state quality assurance evaluation, including the establishment of required qualifications and ethical standards for interpreters, the approval of interpreters, the monitoring and investigation of interpreters and the suspension and revocation of approvals. The Commission may conduct national association of the deaf interpreter evaluations and collect and expend funds with regard thereto.
(d) The Commission shall develop an outreach program to familiarize the public with the rights and needs of hearing-impaired people and of available services.
(e) The Commission shall investigate the condition of the hearing-impaired in this state with particular attention to those who are aged, homeless, needy, victims of rubella and victims of abuse or neglect. It shall determine the means the state possesses for establishing group homes for its hearing-impaired citizens and the need for additional facilities. The Commission shall also determine the advisability and necessity of providing services to the multihandicapped hearing-impaired.
§5-14-6. Seminars and training sessions.
The Commission may establish one or more training sessions or workshops for the teaching of interpretive skills, in-service training and counseling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing hard of hearing. Seminars and training sessions may be conducted and are encouraged to work with the existing facilities and organizations established to accomplish the same goals.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to delete the hyphens in the name of the West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and to make other technical changes, to delete language requiring the Commission to maintain a registry and census of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and to specify that the ex officio members of the Commission have full voting powers.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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