CHAPTER 5. GENERAL POWERS AND AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNOR, SECRETARY OF STATE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL; BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS; MISCELLANEOUS AGENCIES, COMMISSIONS, OFFICES, PROGRAMS, ETC.

§5-14-1. Legislative findings.

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:

(a) There is a need for West Virginia to adequately identify the deaf or hard of hearing population and provide efficient and effective services to such population;

(b) Deaf or hard of hearing people need to be more involved in the decisions and programs that affect their lives by soliciting and seriously considering their collective opinion on appropriate matters;

(c) Cooperation among state and local agencies must be facilitated in an effort to ensure that adequate and appropriate services are available and provided;

(d) In order to further the aforementioned goals it is necessary to determine what services exist and what services can be developed in order to match services to individual needs;

(e) A rubella epidemic from 1963 to 1965 caused a number of infants in West Virginia to be born deaf or hard of hearing. These individuals are approaching the ages where they will no longer be eligible for educational services, thus requiring services as young adults. The Legislature, therefore, declares that there is an unprecedented and imperative need to plan and prepare for the multiplicity of services required in order to ensure a life-long continuum of services to this particular population;

(f) There must be more emphasis on the use of interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing people and on the quality control of such services;

(g) There must be more emphasis on the use of telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDDs) and means to provide them for deaf or hard of hearing people;

(h) Through the implementation of the provisions of this article, the deaf and hard-of-hearing population of West Virginia will be aided in their efforts to live independent and productive lives.