Gov. Rick Snyder today issued an executive order that enhances services for blind and visually impaired residents across the state.
Executive Order 2012-2 transfers the duties of the Michigan Commission for the Blind and Michigan Rehabilitation Services to other state departments, which better leverages the expertise and resources of these departments.
“We’re reshaping state government so it offers a more intuitive, effective and efficient system of services,” Snyder said. “This executive order is an important step in that ongoing process. As a result, our blind and visually impaired residents will have better access to comprehensive information and resources.”
The Commission for the Blind and Michigan Rehabilitation Services currently are under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Under the executive order, the Business Enterprise Program is transferred from the Commission for the Blind to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The program oversees statutes that give the blind preference in state vending and food operations, a responsibility that is more in line with the facility management expertise of DTMB.
The remainder of the commission’s duties will move to the Department of Human Services. A new panel, the Blind and Visually Impaired Services Advisory Board, will replace the Michigan Commission for the Blind and advise DHS on the administration of state programs for the blind and recommend policy changes. The board will be comprised of five people with interest and expertise in the needs of the blind.
Michigan Rehabilitation Services also moves to DHS. In addition, the executive order creates the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services within DHS. The council will advise on state functions that affect the ability of people with disabilities to gain employment.
Duties of the Disability Concerns Commission, which now is a separate entity within the Department of Civil Rights, will be merged into the department for greater effectiveness.