The Maryland Advisory Council on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The Maryland Advisory Council on the Deaf & Hard of Hearing was authorized in October 2001 (Chapter 537, Acts of 2001-Code State Government Article, secs. 9-2404 through 9-2406) to advise and give support to the Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Responsibilities of the Advisory Council
The Council advises the Maryland Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on carrying out its duties and reviews statewide activities that involve Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. The Council also fosters coordination and support of programs for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals and studies ways to ensure that services and facilities are available to Deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders.
The Council holds at least quarterly, regularly scheduled meetings and open meetings to provide feedback to the Maryland Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as to facilitate collaboration between deaf individuals and private organizations, public organizations, and the general public. Also, the Council shall assist any local governing body of a county to establish a local advisory council for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the county for purposes of implementing the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other relevant State and federal laws.
Of the council’s 18 members, nine are public members from the community and nine serve as ex-officio. Out of the nine public members, five are Deaf or hard of hearing, and one has special knowledge relating to services to individuals who are deaf-blind. The public members are appointed to three-year terms by the Governor with Senate advice and consent (Code State Government Article, sections. 9-2404 through 9-2406).
The members are staggered in three different 3-year terms and a member may not serve consecutively more than two 3-year terms. At the end of a term, a member continues to serve until a successor is appointed. Any member who fails to attend at least 50 percent of the regularly scheduled meetings during any 12-month period is considered to have resigned.
Town Hall Meetings
After each advisory council meeting, the office hosts town hall meetings to promote engagement among council members and constituents, and for the office and council members to gather feedback and gain a better understanding of the community’s needs and concerns related to state issues and the Governor’s priorities.
It is standard practice to automatically ensure access to public meetings hosted by the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing through the use of American Sign Language interpreters, real-time captioners, as well as a limited number of assistive listening loop devices. Other forms of accommodations such as tactile interpreting can be requested through the Office.