Part 7. Commission for the Blind.

143B-157. Commission for the Blind - creation, powers and duties.

There is recreated the Commission for the Blind of the Department of Health and Human Services with the power and duty to adopt rules governing the conduct of the State's rehabilitative programs for the blind that are necessary to carry out the provisions and purposes of this Article.

(1) The Commission shall adopt rules that are necessary and desirable for the programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services as provided in Chapter 111 of the General Statutes of North Carolina.

(2) Repealed by Session Laws 1993, c. 561, s. 89(a).

(3) The Commission shall adopt rules, not inconsistent with the laws of this State, that are required by the federal government for grants-in-aid for rehabilitative purposes for the blind that may be made available to the State from the federal government. This section is to be liberally construed in order that the State and its citizens may benefit from such grants-in-aid.

(3a) The Commission shall review, analyze, and advise the Department regarding the performance of its responsibilities under the federal rehabilitation program in which the State participates, as it relates to the provision of services to the blind, particularly its responsibilities relating to the following:

a. Eligibility for the program;

b. The extent, scope, and effectiveness of the services provided; and

c. The functions performed by the Department that affect, or that have the potential to affect, the ability of individuals who are blind or visually impaired to achieve rehabilitative goals and objectives under the federal rehabilitation program;

(3b) The Commission shall advise the Department regarding preparation of applications, the State Plan, amendments to this plan, the State needs assessments, and the evaluations required by the federal rehabilitation program; and in partnership with the Department develop, agree to, and review State goals and priorities;

(3c) The Commission shall, to the extent feasible, conduct a review and analysis (i) of the effectiveness of, and consumer satisfaction with, the functions performed by the Department and other public and private entities responsible for performing functions for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, and (ii) of vocational rehabilitation services provided or paid for from funds made available through other public or private sources and provided by State agencies and other public and private entities responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired;

(3d) The Commission shall prepare and submit an annual report to the Governor, the Secretary, and the federal rehabilitation program, and make the report available to the public;

(3e) The Commission shall coordinate with other councils within the State, including the statewide Independent Living Council established under section 705 of the federal Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 720, et seq., the advisory panel established under section 612(a)(21) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1413(A)(12), the Council on Developmental Disabilities described in section 124 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 6024, the State Mental Health Planning Council established pursuant to section 1916(e) of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 300x-4(e), and the NCWorks Commission;

(3f) The Commission shall advise the Department and provide for coordination with, and establishment of working relationships between, the Department and the Independent Living Council;

(3g) The Commission shall prepare, in conjunction with the Department, a plan for the provision of those resources, including staff and other personnel, that are necessary to carry out the Commission's function under this Part. The resource plan shall, to the maximum extent possible, rely on the use of resources in existence during the period of implementation of the plan. The agreed-upon resources shall be provided pursuant to G.S. 143B-14. To the extent that there is a disagreement between the Commission and the Department with regard to the resources necessary to carry out the functions of the Commission required by this Part, the Governor shall resolve the disagreement. The Department or other State agency shall not assign any other duties to the staff and other personnel who are assisting the Commission in carrying out its duties that would create a conflict of interest;

(4) The Commission shall adopt rules consistent with the provisions of this Chapter. All rules not inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter heretofore adopted by the North Carolina State Commission for the Blind shall remain in full force and effect unless and until repealed or superseded by action of the recreated Commission for the Blind. All rules adopted by the Commission shall be enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services. (1973, c. 476, s. 139; 1993, c. 561, s. 89(a); 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 2000-121, ss. 29, 30; 2015-241, s. 15.11(e).)