HCS SCS SB 721 -- TELECOMMUNICATIONS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
This bill requires the Missouri Assistive Technology Advisory Council to
establish an assistive technology loan program to be funded from the
Assistive Technology Revolving Fund that is created in the bill. The fund
will receive any appropriation and grant moneys received under the federal
Assistive Technology Act of 1998 or any applicable source.
The bill revises the Missouri Public Service Commission's program for
telecommunications equipment for hearing- and speech-impaired persons.
Definitions are added to expand the scope of the program to all
telecommunications equipment, including voice and text.
The Missouri Assistive Technology Advisory Council, instead of the Public
Service Commission, will administer a statewide telecommunications
equipment and distribution program for persons who cannot use traditional
equipment due to disability.
The bill specifies the duties of the program administrator which include
customer service and cost-effective procurement of adaptive equipment.
Expenditures for program administration may not exceed 20% of total program
expenses. The Missouri Assistive Technology Advisory Council is authorized
to make rules to implement and administer the program and to enter into
contracts to deliver consumer support and administrative services relating
to equipment distribution.
The Public Service Commission will annually request, as a separate budget
item, appropriations from the Deaf Relay Service and Equipment Distribution
Program Fund to deliver dual-party relay service. The Missouri Assistive
Technology Advisory Council will annually request, through a separate line
item, an appropriation from the same fund to deliver the equipment
The Deaf Relay Service and Equipment Fund surcharge will not be increased
for 2 years, subject to changes in federal requirements. On August 28,
2000, the Department of Labor will make its initial recommendation to the
Public Service Commission regarding the amount of the surcharge necessary
for funding the equipment distribution program and will annually make such
a recommendation to the commission.
The Blindness Education, Screening and Treatment Program Fund is created
and financed by a voluntary $1 contribution from applicants applying for or
renewing their motor vehicle registration or driver's license. The
Department of Health is required to develop a Blindness Education,
Screening and Treatment Program to provide certain services for persons who
do not have adequate health benefit coverage, subject to availability of
funds. The department must make rules governing program specifications and
eligibility requirements for the program.
The bill also repeals a redundant section of law relating to application
for a driver's license.