(20 ILCS 2410/7)
(from Ch. 23, par. 3417)
There shall be created within the Department a
Blind Services Planning Council which shall review the actions of the Bureau
for the Blind and provide advice and consultation to the Secretary on
services to blind people. The Council shall be composed of 11 members
appointed by the Governor. All members shall be selected because of their
ability to provide worthwhile consultation or services to the blind. No fewer
than 6 members shall be blind. A relative balance between the number
of males and females shall be maintained. Broad representation shall be
sought by appointment, with 2 members from each of the major statewide
consumer organizations of the blind and one member from a specific service
area including, but not limited to, the Hadley School for the Blind,
Chicago Lighthouse, Department-approved Low Vision Aides Clinics, Vending
Facilities Operators, the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation
of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), blind homemakers, outstanding
competitive employers of blind people, providers and recipients of income
maintenance programs, in-home care programs, subsidized housing, nursing
homes and homes for the blind.
Initially, 4 members shall be appointed for terms of one year, 4 for
terms of 2 years and 3 for terms of 3 years with a partial term of 18
months or more counting as a full term. Subsequent terms shall be 3 years
each. No member shall serve more than 2 terms. No Department employee
shall be a member of the Council.
Members shall be removed for cause including, but not limited to,
demonstrated incompetence, unethical behavior and unwillingness or inability to serve.
Members shall serve without pay but shall be reimbursed for actual
expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Members shall be governed by appropriate and applicable State and federal
statutes and regulations on matters such as ethics, confidentiality,
freedom of information, travel and civil rights.
Department staff may attend meetings but shall not be a voting member of
the Council. The Council shall elect a chairperson and a recording
secretary from among its number. Sub-committees and ad hoc committees may
be created to concentrate on specific program components or initiative areas.
The Council shall perform the following functions:
(a) facilitate communication and cooperative efforts between the
Department and all agencies which have any responsibility to deliver
services to blind and visually impaired persons.
(b) identify needs and problems related to blind and visually impaired
persons, including children, adults, and seniors, and make recommendations to
the Secretary, Bureau Director and Governor.
(c) recommend programmatic and fiscal priorities governing the provision
of services and awarding of grants or contracts by the Department to any
person or agency, public or private.
(d) conduct, encourage and advise independent research by qualified
evaluators to improve services to blind and visually impaired persons,
including those with multiple disabilities.
(e) participate in the development and review of proposed and amended
rules and regulations of the Department relating to services for the blind
and visually impaired.
(f) review and comment on all budgets (drafted and submitted) relating
to services for blind and visually impaired persons.
(g) promote policies and programs to educate the public and elicit public
support for services to blind and visually impaired persons.
(h) encourage creative and innovative programs to strengthen, expand and
improve services for blind and visually impaired persons, including outreach
(i) perform such other duties as may be required by the Governor,
Secretary, and Bureau Director.
The Council shall supersede and replace all advisory committees now
functioning within the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind,
with the exception of federally mandated advisory groups.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)