WHEREAS, the purpose of the Federal Rehabilitation Act is to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society; and
WHEREAS, only through the establishment of a statewide independent living council is the State of Washington eligible for Rehabilitation Act funding for independent living centers and services; and
WHEREAS, on April 30, 1993, Governor Mike Lowry issued Executive Order 93-04 which, in part, established a State Independent Living Advisory Council; and
WHEREAS, individuals with disabilities in the State of Washington continue to benefit from the services provided by the federally funded independent living centers; and
WHEREAS, formation of a new, streamlined council is necessary to ensure better alignment with federal requirements, to simplify existing processes, and to enhance overall effectiveness.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gary Locke, Governor of the State of Washington, do hereby establish the State Independent Living Council, and require the following:
1. FORMATION OF COUNCIL AND MEMBERSHIP
Members of the Council shall be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. To achieve a balanced membership on the Council, appointments shall be made with consideration given to geographic representation, gender, and ethnic and cultural diversity.
The Council shall be comprised of at least seven members, but not more than eleven members. At least five members shall be voting members. A majority of the voting members shall be individuals with disabilities who are not employees of any state agency or a center for independent living. A majority of the voting appointees shall constitute a quorum. Membership shall be as follows:
- At least one director of a center for independent living chosen by the directors of centers for independent living within the state.
- As ex officio, non-voting members:
- A representative from the designated state units, the Department of Social and Health Services' Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Services for the Blind; and
- Representatives from other state agencies that provide services for individuals with disabilities.
- At least one representative of directors of any vocational rehabilitation services projects operated by Indian tribes on reservations in Washington with Rehabilitation Act funding.
- The Council may include:
- Other representatives from centers for independent living.
- Parents and guardians of individuals with disabilities.
- Advocates of and for individuals with disabilities.
- Representatives from private businesses.
- Representatives from organizations that provide services for individuals with disabilities.
- Other appropriate individuals.
Terms of membership shall be three years, with the exception that initial appointments shall be staggered in order to assure continuity of the Council: one-third shall be appointed for one-year terms; one-third shall be appointed for two-year terms; and one-third shall be appointed for three-year terms. If a member resigns before completing a term, a new member may be appointed to serve out the remainder of that term. No member of the Council may serve more than two consecutive full terms.
A chairperson shall be designated by the members of the Council from among the voting membership of the Council. State executive and legislative appointees shall be ex officio, non-voting members of the Council.
2. ROLE OF THE COUNCIL
The Council shall fulfill the following responsibilities:
- Develop, sign and submit the State Plan for Independent Living jointly with the Department of Social and Health Services' Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Services for the Blind.
- Monitor, review, and evaluate the implementation of the State Plan for Independent Living.
- Coordinate activities with the State Rehabilitation Council, the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, and other councils that address the needs of disability populations.
- Ensure that all regularly scheduled meetings of the Council are open to the public and sufficient advance notice is provided, as required by 42.30 RCW, the Open Public Meetings Act.
- Submit to the Federal Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner such periodic reports as are reasonably requested. The Council shall maintain copies of these reports. These reports and other Council records shall be made available upon request as required by the Public Records Act, RCW 42.17.260.
3. MEETINGS AND OTHER BUSINESS
- The Council shall convene at least four meetings a year.
- Members may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses of attending Council meetings and performing Council duties. The Council's expense policies must conform to guidelines published within the State Administrative and Accounting Manual.
4. DESIGNATED STATE AGENCY
The Council shall not be subject to the supervision of a state agency. However, the Department of Social and Health Services' Division of Vocational Rehabilitation shall provide administrative support to Council as follows:
- In conjunction with the Council and the Department of Services for the Blind, develop a plan for the provision of such resources as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Council.
- If the resource plan includes state staff support for the Council, recognize that the Council shall supervise and evaluate such staff in regards to performance of Council support functions.
- Disburse and account for any funding made available to the Council.
- Ensure that the Council is operating within federal and state law, policies and procedures in all of its administrative functions.
All aspects of the Council shall comply with, and conform to the requirements of the Federal Rehabilitation Act.