Commission Meeting

                                  Friday, May 6, 2011

                       Lucas State Office Building – Room 201

                                   Des Moines, Iowa

                                10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


The DSCI Commission Meeting was called to order by Chair Theresa Legg at 10:02 a.m.,

Friday, May 6, 2011, Lucas State Office Building, 321 E. 12th Street, Room 201, Des Moines, IA.


Members present: Theresa Legg, Dr. James Snyder, Gus Cordero, Robert Vizzini, Nathaniel Garrels and Jennifer Keaton


Members absent:  Tina Kastendieck


Staff members present:  Suzy Mannella, Stephanie Lyons, Linda Scott, Jill Avery, Executive Officer, CAS and Cyndi Chen, DHR Resource Coordinator


Ex-Officio Member Absent:  Isaiah McGee, Director, Department of Human Rights


Interpreters:  Amy Cook, Renee Johnson, Kim Kischer-Larson and Sue Tyrrell


Captioner:  Karrie Truitt


Commissioners, staff and interpreters were introduced, visitors recognized and ground rules for the meeting presented.


Approval of the Agenda:

Motion #11-11:  Motion to approve the agenda as presented.  Snyder/Cordero  All in favor, motion carried.


Approval of Minutes from March 26, 2011:

Motion #11-12:   Having reviewed the minutes, Vizzini asked that the last paragraph on the first page be removed with the exception of the first sentence.  After discussion, the last paragraph, on page one, with the exception of the first sentence, will be deleted.  Snyder/Cordero  All in favor, motion carried.  


DHR Board Representative Report:

Snyder provided the Commission with updates from the DHR Board.  The focus was on the legislature not confirming Director McGee and the department’s budget for the Division of Community Advocacy and Services (CAS), specifically.  Both the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board appeared before the Joint House/Senate Budget Committee on the DHR budget and concentrating especially on keeping the division and the offices within CAS intact.






Staff Reports:


·         continues to work with clients providing information, education and outreach

·         working on JCP camp volunteers, kitchen/cooking schedules and donations. 

·         asked for the commissioners’ help in recruiting attendees to the July 18-23 camp.

·         will be attending her first Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Transliterators meeting on May 16.

·         has been attending the Senior Citizen’s Deaf Church activities every Wednesday and is working with the group to bring in a speaker on nursing homes and nursing home care.  A presentation will be given to the group on June 29.  She is also working with the Seniors group on smoke alarms and a representative from the State Fire Marshal’s office will be talking with the group on June 22.



·         further clarified information on smoke alarms.  Smoke alarms being installed in homes right now are given through grant money with the primary recipients being families with children.  Once they have fulfilled those requests, they will look at adults and their needs.  The Fire Marshal is looking into additional funding through various grants.

·         JCP camp applications are slow to come in.  All the groups have been contacted along with AEAs, interpreters, educational interpreters, through E-News, IAD, Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Hands and Voices to recruit campers.

·         updated the commission on the JCP budget.  At this time the fund has about $26,920, which is money that’s been collected over the years through donations.  This year, campers are asked to submit $50.00 with their application to help defray costs.  If a camper wants to attend and cannot afford to submit the $50.00 with application, there would be money in the budget for them to attend.

·         next commission meeting will be held at the camp – Friday, July 22 from 1-4 p.m.

·         passed out information on commissioner duties.  She explained that once we have a new director in place, the postponed commissioner training will be rescheduled and commissioners will be notified of the new date, time and location.


Public Comment:

Dorene Sell, representing the President of IAD, had nothing to report.


Patrick Sell commented on the reorganization within state government in 1986 and the latest reorganization of the department this past year.  He also asked for clarification on the number of commissions within CAS and the department and the number of commissioners on each commission as well as the representation on the DHR Board.  Mr. Sell felt the need for advocacy within the community.


LeAnn Russo, Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR), extended a welcome to the commission advise that David Mitchell was now the new administrator within VR.  Ms. Russo will be working as a liaison between VR and the Office of Deaf Services.





Old Business: 

Committee Reports:

Mental Health:  No report.

Legal:  No report.

Interpreter Competency Standards:  No report.

Youth:  No report.

Services for Hard of Hearing:  No report.


New Business:

Prioritization Committee Reports (3 or less):

Mannella explained that during the transitional phase of the department there is now a DHR Board with a new director set by Code.  The Board will set up a Strategic Plan but they are asking each commission to work on issues.  This commission has had the five (5) issues they’ve been working on and Mannella would like to prioritize those issues to the top two or three to present to the Board to be included in the Strategic Plan.  After much discussion the commission came up with three issues that they would focus their attention on.


Motion #11-13:  Motion was made that the commission focus on three issues – Mental Health, Legal and Interpreter Competency Standards.  Snyder/Keaton  All in favor, motion carried.


Of the three issues selected, the commission wanted to prioritize the issues.  Vizzini asked for discussion.  The commission decided that something should go out to the IAD asking them to poll their membership and come back to the commission with their priorities of importance in top three order.  They also asked the IAD representative to take the information back to the association for feedback and feelings of the community.


Motion #11-14:  Motion to table the prioritization of the three issues, making them of equal priority until information from the community has been received.  Vizzini/Snyder  All in favor, motion carried.


Mannella would like to set up committees for each issue, but asked if the commission felt comfortable doing so before getting the information back from the community?  Commissioners felt more comfortable waiting until the information was received and making that information part of the committee reports at the July meeting.


Motion #11-15:  Motion was made that each commissioner will gather information from the community regarding the issues of mental health, legal and interpreter competency standards to bring back to the commission at the July meeting.  Cordero/Keaton  All in favor, motion carried.


Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights:

Mannella talked about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights from its introduction in 2006 to this most recent legislative session.  Each session the bill either died, didn’t get out of committee or this year, the bill was withdrawn because it didn’t contain the language the community and commission wanted to see.



Mannella asked if the commission would like to continue working on the bill with Hands and Voices and IAD and get it passed.  Snyder suggested that the commissioners take a look at the final draft of the bill that was under consideration and withdrawn to see what was objected to, decide on compromises and find someone to sponsor the bill again next session.


Vizzini thought the bill had some good points, but we need to keep making our voices heard and not keep presenting the same issues.  The deaf community needs to become involved  in the to draft a bill and make their voices heard.  Garrels didn’t feel the bill was strong enough on some items that need to be in the bill for deaf and hard of hearing children.  The commission needs more facts, statistics and information to become a stronger bill and get it passed.


Motion #11-16:  Motion was made to allow additional time to gather information and work on the issue of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights.  Garrels/Snyder  All in favor, motion carried.


Motion #11-17:  Motion that the commission recognize the former bill and that it be retained until we have the time to work on the other one.  Vizzini/   Motion died for lack of a second.


Contractual Interpreting Funds  for FY 2012:

Legg reminded the commission that at the beginning of each new fiscal year funds have been set aside in the budget to allow up to $5,000 for contractual funding.  A maximum of $150.00 has typically been paid for any contractual interpreting requests not covered by the ADA.  New funding would begin July 1, 2011 and end June 30, 2012, or as long as the money is available to pay for requests.


Motion #11-18:  Motion that the fund be increased to $8,000 for FY 2012.  Cordero/   Motion died for lack of a second.


Further discussion took place regarding funds from the DHR/CAS budget to accommodate an increase in funds available.


Motion #11-19:  Motion to move that CAS set aside $5,000 for contractual funding for the period July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012.  Snyder/Keaton 


Amendment to Motion #11-19:  Asked for an amendment to Motion #11-19 to raise the budget for contractual interpreting to $7,000. Garrels/Cordero  All in favor, motion carried.



-          Snyder would like to see the July meeting contain the appointment of a vice-chair for the commission.  Scott will place the item on the agenda.

-          Vizzini reminded those in attendance of the A.G. Bell workshop that took place in Iowa City this month.  He was unable to attend, but did hear that the person chairing the meeting made the statement that they were not opposed to sign language, but rather in favor of both sign and oral communication and that set the tone for the



-          meeting.  He felt that was a positive.  Other chapters in other states have been quite adamant about not supporting sign language and the Iowa chapter has not adopted that tone.

-          Mannella asked that the three new commissioners write an article about themselves for upcoming E-News newsletters.  Deadline for the June E-News will be May 30 and she will welcome one of the commissioners submitting a narrative about themselves  to be placed in the newsletter.

-          Vizzini heard about a Study Bill #243 that has some connection to interpreting.  Apparently the Licensure Board is thinking about accepting SEE or some other form of sign language.  Suggested that the commission keep an eye on the bill and get the word out to the community.  A lot of people in the community are opposed to seeing that approved so we need to be watchful.

-          Legg has an ASL film that will be shown in Cedar Rapids the week of May 14, 2011.  The film is called Gerald put out by a deaf film company about a deaf family.  Deaf Iowans Against Abuse (DIAA) will be sponsoring the event.


There being no further business, meeting adjourned at 1:35 p.m.





_____________________________________     ___________________________________

Theresa Legg, Chair                                               Linda Scott, Secretary