Senate Bill No. 525
(By Senators Unger, Prezioso, Oliverio, Snyder, Facemyer, Edgell,
Rowe, Helmick, Fanning, Sharpe, Ross, Hunter, Caldwell, Redd,
Burnette, Minear, Minard, Kessler, Plymale, Love, Mitchell,
Boley, Bowman, Anderson, McCabe and Tomblin, Mr. President)
[Originating in the Committee on Health and Human Resources;
reported April 3, 2001.]
A BILL to amend chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article ten-m, relating to
establishing the statewide independent living council;
providing for the powers and duties of the council; providing
for a state plan for the provision of independent living
services to people with disabilities to be jointly developed
by the council and the division of rehabilitation services;
providing that available funding for independent living
services shall be administered by the division of rehabilitation services; and specifying funding eligibility
criteria for centers for independent living.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article ten-m, to read as
ARTICLE 10M. WEST VIRGINIA INDEPENDENT LIVING ACT.
§18-10M-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "West
Virginia Independent Living Act".
§18-10M-2. Legislative findings and declarations.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares the following:
(1) The state recognizes the value of independent living
services in enabling people with disabilities to live more
independently in their own homes and communities.
(2) Persons with disabilities have the best capacity to
design, develop, manage and implement the programs and services
which are intended to assist them.
(3) The federal rehabilitation act requires this state to
develop a state plan for independent living to describe and direct
independent living services in West Virginia.
(4) The federal rehabilitation act further calls for the
establishment and operation of a statewide independent living council to monitor, review and evaluate the implementation of the
state's plan for independent living services.
(5) There are approximately one quarter of a million residents
in this state with disabilities who could benefit directly or
indirectly from the provision of independent living services by the
division of rehabilitation services and the state's centers for
(6) Twenty-five percent of West Virginia's total population is
over fifty-five years of age and thirteen and one-half percent of
that population requires assistance with activities of daily living
in order to live independently in their own homes.
(7) A need exists for a coordinated network of
consumer-controlled centers for independent living that effectively
reaches persons with disabilities in all fifty-five counties of the
The purpose of this article is to authorize, facilitate or
provide for services and activities that will enable individuals
with disabilities to live as independently as possible in their own
homes and communities; to promote the philosophy of independent
living, including consumer control, peer support, self-help,
self-determination, equal access and individual and systems
advocacy; to enhance and maximize the leadership abilities,
empowerment, independence and productivity of individuals with significant disabilities; and to promote and maximize the
integration and full inclusion of individuals with significant
disabilities into the mainstream of our society. To this end,
services provided pursuant to this article shall be offered in the
most integrated settings to the maximum extent possible, within
Terms used in this article have the same meanings as those
provided in the federal rehabilitation act, as follows:
(a) "Consumer control" means circumstances in which
individuals with disabilities having decision-making authority.
(b) "Council" means the statewide independent living council.
(c) "Division" means the division of rehabilitation services.
(d) "Independent living services" means advocacy, independent
living skills, training, information and referral, peer counseling,
peer support and any other service directed by the state plan which
may include but is not limited to the following:
(1) Assistive devices and equipment;
(2) Communication services;
(3) Counseling and related services;
(4) Community awareness programs to enhance the understanding
and integration into society of individuals with disabilities;
(5) Environmental modifications;
(6) Family services;
(7) Mobility training;
(8) Personal assistance services;
(9) Prostheses and other appliances and devices; and
(10) Rehabilitation technology.
(e) "State plan" means the state plan for independent living
required by the federal rehabilitation act of 1973, as amended.
§18-10M-5. Eligibility for services.
Any individual with a significant disability, as defined in
the state plan, is eligible for services that may be made available
pursuant to this article.
§18-10M-6. Statewide independent living council.
(a) The West Virginia statewide independent living council is
hereby established, as it has heretofore existed under the federal
rehabilitation act, as a not-for-profit corporation which shall be
organized to meet the requirements of the federal act: Provided,
That the council may not be established as an entity within any
agency or political subdivision of the state. The council shall be
governed by a board of directors, consisting of the voting members
of the council, as provided in this section. The composition of
this board of directors, as well as the composition of the full
council's membership, shall include a majority of members who are
persons with disabilities, as defined in the state plan, and a
majority of members who are not employed by any agency of the state
or center for independent living. The council's membership shall reflect balanced geographical representation, diverse backgrounds
and the full range of disabilities recognized under the federal
act, including physical, mental, cognitive, sensory and multiple.
(b) The council shall function as a partner with the division
of rehabilitation services in the planning and provision of
independent living services in the state. In conjunction with the
division, the council shall develop, approve and submit to the
proper federal authorities the state plan for independent living,
as required by the federal act. The council shall monitor, review
and evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the state
(c) Voting members. -- The council shall consist of twenty-
four voting members as follows: One director of an independent
living center, chosen by the directors of the independent living
centers in the state; and twenty-three members appointed by the
governor. The governor shall select appointments from among the
nominations submitted by organizations representing a wide range of
individuals with disabilities and other interested groups, as
coordinated by the council, by and with the advice and consent of
the Senate. These members may include other representatives from
centers for independent living, parents and guardians of
individuals with disabilities, advocates of individuals with
disabilities, representatives from the business and educational
sectors, representatives of organizations that provide services for individuals with disabilities and other interested individuals, as
appropriate to the purpose of the council.
(d) Nonvoting members. -- The membership of the council shall
also include the following, non-voting, ex officio members, or
(1) The director of the division of rehabilitation services;
(2) The director of the office of behavioral health services
within the department of health and human resources;
(3) The director of the West Virginia housing development
(4) The president of the West Virginia association of
(5) The commissioner of the bureau of senior services; and
(6) The director of the office of special education programs
and assurance in the department of education;
The nonvoting membership may also include additional
representatives of groups represented on the board of directors.
(e) Terms of appointment. -- Each appointed member of the
council shall serve for a term of three years, except that a member
appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of
the term for which a predecessor was appointed shall be appointed
for the remainder of the unexpired term; and the terms of service
of the members initially appointed shall be for such fewer number
of years as will provide for the expiration of terms on a staggered basis, as specified by the governor. No member of the council may
serve more than two consecutive full terms.
(f) Vacancies. -- Any vacancy occurring in the appointed
membership of the council shall be filled in the same manner as the
original appointment. A vacancy does not affect the power of the
remaining members to execute the duties of the council.
(g) Delegation. -- The governor may delegate the authority to
fill a vacancy to the remaining voting members of the council after
initial appointments have been made.
(h) Duties. -- The council shall:
(1) In conjunction with the division of rehabilitation
services, develop and sign the state plan for independent living;
(2) Monitor, review and evaluate the implementation of the
(3) Coordinate activities with the state rehabilitation
council and other bodies that address the needs of specific
disability populations and issues under other federal and state
(4) Ensure that all regularly scheduled meetings of the
council are open to the public and sufficient advance notice is
(5) Submit to the federal funding agency such periodic reports
as are required and keep such records and afford access to such
records, as may be necessary to verify such reports.
(i) Staffing and resources. -- The council may employ staff as
necessary to perform the functions of the council, including an
executive director, an administrative assistant and other staff as
may be determined necessary by the council. The council shall
supervise and evaluate staff. The council shall prepare, in
conjunction with the division, a plan for the use of available
resources as may be necessary to carry out the functions and duties
of the council pursuant to this article, utilizing eligible federal
funds, funds made available under this article and funds from other
public and private sources. This resource plan shall, to the
maximum extent possible, rely on the use of existing resources
during the period of plan implementation.
(j) Compensation and expenses. -- The council may use
resources that are available to it to reimburse members of the
council for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the
performance of their duties, including attending council meetings,
and to pay reasonable compensation to any member of the council who
is either not employed by the state or is not otherwise compensated
by his or her employer for performance of duties associated with
the council, up to fifty dollars per day.
§18-10M-7. State plan for independent living.
(a) The state plan shall direct the use of federal funds
provided to the state under the federal act and appropriated by the
Legislature to the division in a line item for this purpose, in addition to any state funds that may be appropriated to the
division for the provision of independent living services. The
state plan, and each subsequent plan or amendment thereto shall
address the priorities set forth in the federal act for
establishing a statewide program of independent living services,
including a statewide network of centers for independent living.
The state plan may be amended at any time at the agreement of the
council and the division.
(b) The state plan, and each subsequent plan and any
amendments thereto shall be presented to the legislative oversight
commission on health and human resources accountability, created
pursuant to article twenty-nine-e, chapter sixteen of this code,
for review and consultation.
§18-10M-8. Funding and grants.
(a) Funds appropriated to the division for independent living
services shall be administered by the division and may be used to
fund any service or activity included in the state plan for
independent living, including funding centers for independent
living. In order to qualify for funding, a center for independent
living shall meet the definition and comply with the standards and
indicators therefor, as established in the federal act.
(b) Subject to availability, the state plan may designate
funds for purposes including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) To provide independent living services to eligible
individuals with significant disabilities;
(2) To demonstrate ways to expand and improve independent
(3) To support the operation of centers for independent
(4) To support activities to increase the capacities of
centers for independent living to develop comprehensive approaches
or systems for providing independent living services;
(5) To conduct studies and analyses, gather information,
develop model policies and procedures and present information,
approaches, strategies, findings, conclusions and recommendations
to policymakers in order to enhance independent living services for
individuals with disabilities;
(6) To train individuals with disabilities and individuals who
provide services to them and other persons regarding the
independent living philosophy; and
(7) To provide outreach to populations that are unserved or
underserved by programs under this act, including minority groups
and urban and rural populations.
As provided in the state plan, funds appropriated for the
purposes of this article shall be utilized directly by the division
for the provision of independent living services or through grants
or contracts, with the approval of the council, to agencies that meet the definition of and comply with the standards and indicators
for centers for independent living set forth in the federal act.
(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to codify the existing
statewide independent living council and establish the West
Virginia independent living act.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.)