CHAPTER 5. GENERAL POWERS AND AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNOR, SECRETARY OF STATE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL; BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS; MISCELLANEOUS AGENCIES, COMMISSIONS, OFFICES, PROGRAMS, ETC.
WVC CHAPTER 5-14
ARTICLE 14. WEST VIRGINIA COMMISSION FOR THE DEAF AND
§5-14-1. Legislative findings.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:
(a) There is a need for West Virginia to adequately identify
the hearing-impaired population and provide efficient and effective
services to such population;
(b) Hearing-impaired people need to be more involved in the
decisions and programs that affect their lives by soliciting and
seriously considering their collective opinion on appropriate
(c) Cooperation among state and local agencies must be
facilitated in an effort to ensure that adequate and appropriate
services are available and provided;
(d) In order to further the aforementioned goals it is
necessary to determine what services exist and what services can be
developed in order to match services to individual needs;
(e) A rubella epidemic from one thousand nine hundred
sixty-three to one thousand nine hundred sixty-five caused a number
of infants in West Virginia to be born hearing-impaired. These
individuals are approaching the ages where they will no longer be
eligible for educational services, thus requiring services as young
adults. The Legislature, therefore, declares that there is an
unprecedented and imperative need to plan and prepare for the
multiplicity of services required in order to ensure a life-long
continuum of services to this particular population;
(f) There must be more emphasis on the use of interpreters for deaf and hard-of-hearing people and on the quality control of such
(g) There must be more emphasis on the use of
telecommunication devices for the deaf (tdds) and means to provide
them for hearing-impaired people;
(h) Through the implementation of the provisions of this
article, the deaf and hard-of-hearing population of West Virginia
will be aided in their efforts to live independent and productive
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As used in this article:
(a) "Deaf" means severe to profound impairment of the sense of
hearing whereby the understanding of speech is unattainable through
the ear alone with or without amplification, and visual
communication is used as the primary mode of communication.
(b) "Hard of hearing" means significant impairment to the
sense of hearing, but not to the extent that the person must rely
primarily on visual communication.
(c) "Hearing-impaired" means persons who are either deaf or
hard of hearing.
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§5-14-3. Continuation of commission; membership.
(a) The West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of
Hearing is continued within the Department of Health and Human
Resources consisting of seventeen persons, eight of whom shall
serve ex officio. The remaining members are appointed by the
Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The
commission shall meet no less than four times annually. All
meetings and activities held by the commission shall be attended by
at least two qualified interpreters who shall be hired at the
commission's expense or provided free of charge by agencies,
organizations or individuals willing to volunteer qualified
(b) The members are: The Secretary of the Department of
Health and Human Resources, or his or her designee; the
Commissioner of the Division of Labor, or his or her designee; the
Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health, or his or her
designee; the State Superintendent of Schools, or his or her
designee; the Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Services,
or his or her designee; the Commissioner of the Division of Human
Services, or his or her designee; the Chairman of the Advisory
Council for the Education of Exceptional Children, or his or her
designee; and the Superintendent of the West Virginia School for
the Deaf and Blind, or his or her designee, all of whom serve ex
officio with full voting privileges.
(c) The Governor shall appoint nine persons, at least five of whom are deaf or hard of hearing, one of whom is the parent of a
deaf child, one of whom is a certified teacher of the
hearing-impaired, one audiologist and one otolaryngologist. Of the
five deaf people, at least three shall be selected from a list of
five people recommended by the Board of the West Virginia
Association of the Deaf.
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§5-14-4. Terms of office; quorum.
Members of the commission who do not serve ex officio shall be
appointed for the following terms: Three members shall be
appointed for a term of three years; three for a term of two years;
and three for a term of one year. When a vacancy occurs, an
appointment shall be made for the unexpired term. The members
shall annually elect a chairman. A majority of the members
constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.
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§5-14-5. Powers and duties of the commission; information
clearinghouse; coordination of interpreters; outreach
programs; seminars and training sessions.
(a) The commission shall maintain a clearinghouse of
information, the purpose of which is to aid hearing-impaired
persons and others in obtaining appropriate services or information
about such services, including, but not limited to, education,
communication (including interpreters), group home facilities,
independent living skills, recreational facilities, employment,
vocational training, health and mental health services, substance
abuse and other services necessary to assure their ability to
function in society. The commission shall consult existing public
and private agencies and organizations in compiling and maintaining
(b) The commission shall establish, maintain and coordinate a
statewide service to provide courts, state and local legislative
bodies and others with a list of qualified and certified
interpreters for the deaf and a list of qualified and certified
teachers of American sign language.
(c) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human
Resources shall promulgate rules pursuant to article three, chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code for the state quality assurance
evaluation, including the establishment of required qualifications
and ethical standards for interpreters, the approval of
interpreters, the monitoring and investigation of interpreters and the suspension and revocation of approvals. The commission may
conduct interpreter evaluations and collect and expend funds with
(d) The commission shall develop an outreach program to
familiarize the public with the rights and needs of
hearing-impaired people and of available services.
(e) The commission shall investigate the condition of the
hearing-impaired in this state with particular attention to those
who are aged, homeless, needy, victims of rubella and victims of
abuse or neglect. It shall determine the means the state possesses
for establishing group homes for its hearing-impaired citizens and
the need for additional facilities. The commission shall also
determine the advisability and necessity of providing services to
the multihandicapped hearing-impaired.
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§5-14-6. Seminars and training sessions.
The commission may establish one or more training sessions or
workshops for the teaching of interpretive skills, in-service
training and counseling for the deaf and hard of hearing. Seminars
and training sessions may be conducted and are encouraged to work
with the existing facilities and organizations established to
accomplish the same goals.
§5-14-7. Assistance of other agencies.
To effectuate the purposes of this article, the commission may
request from any department, board, bureau, commission or other
agency of the state, and the same are authorized to provide such
assistance, services and data as will enable the commission to
properly carry out its powers and duties hereunder.
§5-14-8. Executive director; staff.
There shall be within the commission an executive director who
shall be appointed by the commission and whose compensation shall
be fixed by the commission within the budgetary appropriation
thereof. The executive director shall be in the exempt class of
civil service and may not be a member of the commission. The
executive director may attend all meetings of the commission, as
well as its committees, but has no vote on decisions or actions of
the commission or its committees. The executive director shall
carry out the decisions and actions of the commission, hire all
staff, administer all affairs of the commission in accordance with
its policies and discharge such other duties as the commission
shall from time to time determine. The commission may employ such
other officers, employees and clerical assistants as it considers
necessary and may fix their compensation within the amounts made
available by appropriation. To the extent possible, the executive
director shall be hearing-impaired and shall be proficient in
communicating with hearing-impaired individuals using varying
§5-14-9. Reports and recommendations.
The commission shall make an annual report to the governor and
the Legislature which shall include its recommendations and
§5-14-10. Grants and gifts; contracts.
The commission, with the approval of the governor, may agree
to accept and contract as agent of the state any gift, grant,
devise or bequest, including federal grants, for any of the
purposes of this article. Any moneys so received may be expended
by the commission to effectuate any purpose of this article,
subject to the same limitations as to approval of expenditures and
audit as are prescribed for state moneys appropriated for the
purposes of this article.
The commission may enter into contracts with any person, firm,
corporation, municipality or governmental agency to effectuate the
purposes of this article.
§5-14-11. Reimbursement for expenses.
The members of the commission, other than its ex officio
members, are entitled to reimbursement for their actual and
necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official duties.
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Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.