(a) The West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council is continued as a not-for-profit corporation which has been organized to meet the requirements of the federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended. 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 federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended, 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 a broad range of disabilities, including, but not limited to, physical, mental, cognitive, sensory and multiple.
(b) The council shall function as a partner with the centers for independent living, in compliance with the federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended, in the planning and provision of independent living services in the state. In conjunction with the centers for independent living, 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 plan.
(c) Voting members. — The council shall consist of twenty-four voting members, including one director of an independent living center chosen by the directors of the independent living centers in the state. The Governor shall select appointments from among the nominations submitted by the council after having conducted a statewide solicitation from 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 individuals with disabilities, 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, nonvoting, ex officio members or their designees who shall be appointed by the Governor:
(1) A representative of the designated state entity;
(2) A representative of the Division of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities within the Department of Health and Human Resources;
(3) A representative of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund;
(4) A representative of the West Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Facilities;
(5) A representative of the Bureau of Senior Services; and
(6) A representative of the Office of Special Education Programs and Assurance in the Department of Education.
(e) The nonvoting membership may also include additional representatives of groups represented on the board of directors as identified in the bylaws of the council.
(f) Appointment. — All council members are appointed by the Governor. The Governor shall appoint from among the nominations submitted by organizations representing a wide range of individuals with disabilities and other interested groups, as coordinated by the council.
(g) Terms of appointment. — All council members are appointed to 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. No member of the council may serve more than two consecutive full terms.
(h) 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.
(i) 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.
(j) Duties. — The council shall:
(1) In conjunction with the centers for independent living, develop and sign the state plan for independent living;
(2) Monitor, review and evaluate the implementation of the state plan;
(3) Coordinate activities with other bodies that address the needs of specific disability populations and issues under other federal and state law;
(4) Ensure that all regularly scheduled meetings of the council are open to the public and sufficient advance notice is provided;
(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; and
(6) Ensure that the state plan for independent living sets forth the steps that will be taken to maximize the cooperation, coordination and working relationships among:
(A) The Independent Living Rehabilitation Service Program, the Statewide Independent Living Council and centers for independent living; and
(B) The designated state unit, other state agencies represented on the council, other councils that address the needs of specific disability populations and issues, and other public and private entities determined to be appropriate by the council.
(k) Authorities. — Unless prohibited by state law the council may, consistent with the state plan described in section seven of this article:
(1) Work with centers for independent living to coordinate services with public and private entities to improve services provided to individuals with disabilities;
(2) Conduct resource development activities to support the activities described in this article to support the provision of independent living services by centers for independent living; and
(3) Perform other functions, consistent with the purpose of this article and comparable to other functions described in this subsection, as the council determines to be appropriate.
(l) Staffing and resources. — The council may employ staff as necessary to perform the functions of the council, including an executive director and other staff as may be determined necessary by the council. The council shall supervise and evaluate the executive director. The council shall prepare, in conjunction with the designated state entity, 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 including innovation and expansion funds as directed by the federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended, 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.
(m) Compensation and expenses. — The council may use available resources to reimburse members of the council for reasonable and necessary expenses of attending council meetings and performing council duties, such as personal assistance services, and if the member is not employed or must forfeit wages from other employment, to pay compensation to the member for attending official meetings or engaging in official duties not to exceed the amount paid to members of the Legislature for their interim duties as recommended by the Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission and authorized by law.