2003 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Burton
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A MISSISSIPPI COMMISSION ON DISABILITY AND PROVIDE FOR ITS MEMBERSHIP; TO PRESCRIBE THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
SECTION 1. The following terms shall have the meaning ascribed herein, unless the context shall otherwise require:
(a) "Commission" means the Mississippi Commission on Disability (MCD).
(b) "Director" means the Director of the Mississippi Commission on Disability.
(c) "People with disabilities" means individuals who have physical, sensory, cognitive or mental characteristics such as those listed under the definition of "handicapped person" in regular 28CFR 41.31(b) for the implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Public Law 93-112).
SECTION 2. (1) There is created the Mississippi Commission on Disability (MCD) to promote and facilitate the full participation of, an the creation and assurance of equal opportunities for, all people with disabilities.
(2) The goals and objectives of the Mississippi Commission on Disability shall include, but are not limited to or provided in any priority order, the following:
(a) To be a comprehensive clearinghouse of information for people with disabilities related to potential service programs (including contact points, eligibility criteria, service scope, budgets, waiting list), disability rights and relevant events.
(b) To serve as a disability minority advocate to identify the issues and concerns pertaining to the rights, needs and capabilities of all persons with disabilities, and to work to empower such individuals to take as much control of their own lives as possible.
(c) To collect, analyze and synthesize disability-related data (e.g., numbers and types of disability, in the state, their economic/school/employment/long-term care status) for use by state agencies, universities and colleges, disability organizations and private citizens.
(d) To advise the Governor, the Legislature, the Mississippi congressional delegation, state agencies, the business community, organized labor and other public and private groups and the general public on disability issues and concerns, and to make recommendations to address those identified matters, with emphasis on increasing opportunities for independence and employment.
(e) To coordinate and conduct public relations activities to spotlight the skills and capabilities of people with disabilities to emphasize the actual and potential contributions of people with disabilities.
(f) To establish such relationship with state agencies, especially those that serve the disability community, consumer/advocacy groups, local governments, private industry, educational institutions, labor and other private organizations, as may be needed to enhance equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.
(g) To submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature which will provide:
(i) Recommendations to address the unmet needs of people with disabilities in Mississippi;
(ii) An overall state government/private sector service overview of programs and services for people with disabilities in Mississippi;
(iii) Information on public and private groups which are providing equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.
(h) To carry out activities assigned by the Commission, to further the mission of the Mississippi Commission on Disability and the quality of life of citizens with disabilities.
SECTION 3. (1) The Mississippi Commission on Disability shall consist of eleven (11) members: (a) five (5) members appointed by the Governor, one (1) from each Mississippi congressional district and one (1) from the state at large; (b) three (3) members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor from the state at large; and (c) three (3) members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives from the state at large. The membership of the Commission on Disability shall at all times constitute at least a majority of people with disabilities. Members who are disabled shall be diversed in terms of race, geography, and disability characteristics. Two (2) members of the full commission membership shall be the immediate family members of persons with disabilities, at least one (1) of which shall be a parent.
The members of the Mississippi Commission on Disability shall serve terms of office as follows:
(a) The term of the member from the First Congressional District shall expire on July 1, 2005;
(b) The term of the member from the Second Congressional District shall expire on July 1, 2006;
(c) The term of the member from the Third Congressional District shall expire on July 1, 2007;
(d) The term of the member from the Fourth Congressional District shall expire on July 2008; and
(e) The term of the members from the state at large shall expire on July 1, 2008.
Thereafter the term of office of each member shall be four (4) years. Any appointment to a vacancy shall be for the unexpired term in question, and from the congressional district in which such vacancy occurred. No member shall, during his term of office, serve as an officer or committee member of any political party organization.
(2) The Mississippi Commission on Disability shall elect a chair person from its membership at the first meeting of the original commission members and every two (2) years thereafter on July 15 of the year. A majority of the membership of the commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business, and the commission shall meet at least quarterly and hold other meetings as are necessary for the purpose of conducting required business. All meetings of the commission shall be called by the chairperson, except the first meeting of the original commission members, which shall be called by the Governor.
(3) The appointed members of the commission shall be compensated at a per diem rate as authorized by Section 25-3-69, plus actual and necessary expenses as authorized by Section 25-3-41.
(4) The Mississippi Commission on Disability shall include a director appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, who shall employ necessary support staff not to exceed four (4) persons. The staffing of the Commission on Disabilities may also be supplemented by use of interns and volunteers from the community. The Commission staff will use the following classifications for selection: The Director shall meet the qualifications and be paid per the job classification of a Division Director II per the Mississippi State Personnel Board. Any administration staff shall meet the qualifications and be paid per the job classification of a Division Director I per the Mississippi State Personnel Board. Any secretarial staff shall meet the qualifications and be paid per the job classification of an administrative assistant IV per the Mississippi State Personnel Board.
(5) The State Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Department of Human Services, the State Department of Education, the State Department of Health, the State Department of Mental Health, the Department of Medicaid and advocates necessary to enable the Mississippi Commission on Disability to carry out the work of this entity may participate on the commission as nonvoting members. These representatives may provide the commission, with data, input and resources to facilitate their planning and coordinating efforts. It shall be the duty of the commission to maintain open communication and active cooperation among state agencies, persons with disabilities and appropriate advocacy groups.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 2004.