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S.F. No. 2777 - Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing Minnesotans Commission Provisions Modification - The First Engrossment
Author: Senator Torrey N. Westrom
Prepared By: Stephanie James, Senate Counsel (651/296-0103)
Date: March 28, 2018


Section 1 [Membership] changes the term length for members from three years to four or until successors are appointed and qualify; increases the limit on number of terms from two to three consecutive terms, but limits total service to 12 years in total; adds election of a vice chair; and provides for annual election of the chair and vice chair. Changes the name of the commission.

Section 2 [Executive Committee] permits the commission to establish an executive committee of at least three members and other committees to exercise powers of the commission other than those expressly required by law to be exercised by the commission.  This section permits the executive committee to enter into contracts not to exceed $50,000 for services to and supplies for the commission.

Section 3 [Removal; Vacancies] changes the “default” statute that fills in details about the operation of the board from Minnesota Statutes, section 15.0575, to section 15.059.  The highlights of these differences are as follows:

  • Schedule of expiration of terms: under section 15.0575, one-fourth of members’ terms expire each year; under section 15.059, half of members' terms expire coterminous with the governor’s year, and half the next year.
  • Serving after term ends:  under section 15.0575, a member serves until a successor is appointed and qualified, but in no case after July 1 of year term ends; under section 15.059, a member serves until a successor is appointed, but if none is appointed by July 1, then the member's term extends four years.
  • Removal: under section 15.0575, members are only removed for cause or for missing three consecutive meetings; under section15.059, members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.
  • Vacancy: under section 15.0575, if a member was appointed by the governor, the governor’s replacement appointment must be approved by the senate; under section 15.059, no senate approval is required for appointing authority to fill a vacancy.
  • Vacancy within three months of original appointment: under section 15.0575, appointing authority can choose a person from an applicant pool.  Section 15.059 is silent on this.

Section 4 [Duties] adds duties for the commission.  The new duties require the commission to: prepare plans, programs, and policies to serve the commission’s constituents; and “encourage and assist in the development of coordinated interdepartmental goals and objectives, and the coordination of programs, services, and facilities among all state departments, political subdivisions, and private providers of service as they relate to [people who are deaf, deafblind, or hard-of-hearing].”

Section 5 [Powers] permits commission contracts for less than $50,000 to be executed by the chair and executive director.  Leaves in place a requirement that larger contracts be approved by a majority of the commission members. This section is effective January 1, 2019.

Section 6 [Transition] explains how the terms of current members will be treated as the commission transitions from having terms governed by section 15.0575 (where one-fourth of the  members’ terms expire each year) to having terms governed by section 15.059 (where half of the members' terms expire coterminous with the governor and the other half the next year).  The draft requires the governor to identify which members’ terms will expire coterminous with the governor ending in January 2019 and which members’ terms will expire the following year.  This section provides that partial terms served as of January 2019 will count as one term for purposes of counting toward the three-term limit. 

Section 7 [Revisor's Instruction] requires the Revisor of Statutes to amend statutes to reflect the new name of the Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard-of-Hearing.

All sections are effective August 1, 2018.

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