2005 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Nunnelee, Albritton, Burton, Butler, Frazier, Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), Thomas, Tollison
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE MISSISSIPPI DISABILITY RESOURCE COMMISSION TO ASSIMILATE AND PROVIDE CURRENT INFORMATION, REFER PERSONS TO APPROPRIATE AGENCIES, FACILITATE COORDINATION OF AGENCY SERVICES, AND BE A COMPREHENSIVE INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE AND SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES; TO PRESCRIBE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMISSION AND PRESCRIBE ITS POWERS AND DUTIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is established the Mississippi Disability Resource Commission. The function of the commission is to:
(a) Assimilate and provide current information to persons who need health, special education or disability information or services;
(b) Refer those persons to the appropriate agencies to receive needed information or services;
(c) Facilitate coordination of services provided by agencies for the maximum benefit of persons who need health, special education or disability services;
(d) Be a comprehensive clearinghouse of information and single point of contact for people with disabilities related to potential service programs; and
(e) Otherwise assist persons who need health, special education or disability services in obtaining information and services.
(2) The powers and duties of the Mississippi Disability Resource Commission shall include, but are not limited to, or provided in any priority order, the following:
(a) To collect and analyze health, special education and disability-related data for use by state agencies, universities and colleges, organizations and private citizens;
(b) To advise the Governor, the Legislature, the Mississippi congressional delegation, state agencies, the business community, other public and private groups and the general public on health, special education and disability issues and concerns, and to make recommendations to address those identified matters, with emphasis on increasing opportunities for independence and employment;
(c) To coordinate and conduct public relations activities, including establishment of a permanent, statewide toll-free phone line for people with disabilities seeking access to services and programs, to promote the skills and capabilities of persons needing health, special education or disability services; and
(d) To submit an annual report to the Governor and to the Legislature with recommendations to address the needs of persons in Mississippi needing health, special education or disability services, and other pertinent data regarding health, special education or disability issues.
(3) The membership of the commission shall consist of thirteen (13) members as follows:
(a) The Executive Director of the State Department of Rehabilitation Services, or his or her designee;
(b) The Executive Director of the State Department of Mental Health, or his or her designee;
(c) The Executive Officer of the State Department of Health, or his or her designee;
(d) The State Superintendent of Public Education, or his or her designee;
(e) The Executive Director of the Division of Medicaid, or his or her designee;
(f) The Executive Director of the Department of Human Services, or his or her designee; and
(g) Three (3) appointments by the Governor and two (2) appointments each by the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Each of the appointments referenced in paragraph (g) of this subsection shall be a person with a disability, a representative of a disability advocacy group, or the parent of a person with a disability. Of these appointments, there shall be no more than one (1) appointment from the same consumer organization or advocacy group during the same term of appointment.
(4) Members appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House shall serve for terms that run concurrently with the terms of office of the appointing officials. An appointment to fill a vacancy, other than by expiration of a term of office, shall be made for the balance of the unexpired term.
(5) The members of the commission shall elect from their membership the chairperson and vice chairperson of the commission. The chairperson and vice chairperson shall be a member appointed under subsection (3)(g) of this section and a member from a state agency referenced in subsection (3)(a) through (f) of this section. The chairperson and vice chairperson shall serve for terms of one (1) year beginning on July 1 of each year, except that the terms of the first chairperson and vice chairperson shall begin on the date of their election to those positions. Each year at the expiration of the terms of the chairperson and vice chairperson, the vice chairperson during the preceding year shall serve as chairperson for the next year, and a new vice chairperson shall be elected according to the terms set forth in this subsection.
(6) The commission shall meet at least quarterly and hold other meetings as are necessary for the purpose of conducting required business, not exceeding six (6) meetings in any one (1) fiscal year. If funds are available for that purpose, the appointed members of the commission may be paid per diem and travel expenses in accordance with the provisions of Sections 25-3-69 and 25-3-41.
(7) The Mississippi Disability Resource Commission may receive and expend any monies appropriated by the Legislature, apply for and utilize grants, and receive gifts or any other appropriate source of funds to carry out the duties of office.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.