TEXAS COMMISSION FOR THE DEAF AND HEARING IMPAIRED
TEXAS COMMISSION FOR THE DEAF AND HEARING IMPAIRED. The State Commission for the Deaf was established in 1971 by the Sixty-second Texas Legislature, to be appointed by the governor with the concurrence of the Senate. The six commission members served six-year overlapping terms. Two of the members were required to be deaf persons. The commission appointed an executive director, preferably deaf or hard-of-hearing. The commission is responsible for rendering all services to the deaf except those which are by law the responsibility of the welfare, educational, or other agencies of the state. Among its duties are collecting and dispensing information concerning the deaf, conducting a census of deaf persons in the state, and accepting gifts to the state for services dealing with the deaf. The commission also was to serve as a liaison between deaf persons and other state agencies and law enforcement or judicial bodies by arranging for interpreter services. A joint program with the Governor's Committee on Aging for services to elderly deaf persons was established to train employees of agencies working with the aged. In 1971 the commission had three employees. In 1976 it established contracts with twelve area organizations in major cities to provide interpreter services to residents. In 1979 the name of the commission was changed to Texas Commission for the Deaf, and the governing board was increased to nine members. Of these, three were required to be deaf, two the parents of deaf children, two professionals serving the deaf, and two representatives of the general public. Members were appointed by the governor with concurrence of the Senate for six-year overlapping terms. Changes were made in 1985 and 1987 in the enabling statute. Interpreter certification was made self-sufficient through fee collections, authority was given to the commission to bill entities for repair costs of telecommunication devises for the deaf, and a sliding fee scale for interpreter services was established. In 1989 authorization was given to design and issue a symbol for motor vehicles to identify the driver as hearing impaired. In 1990 the commission had eleven employees and appropriations of $818,549. In 1991 it assumed its present name. At that time it had thirteen employees. Appropriations for the commission were $915,152 in 1992 and $903,195 in 1993. In 1991 the commission was one of eleven state agencies placed under the oversight of the Health and Human Services Commission.