(a) The director shall conduct a biennial election by secret ballot of a committee of licensed blind vendors who shall be fully representative of all blind licensees in the state program. Representation shall be no less than one committee member for every 25 licensed vendors. At the discretion of the committee, major issues may be referred to a subcommittee of blind vendors, or to all the blind vendors in order to ascertain their views. Only licensed blind persons operating a facility shall serve on the committee or subcommittees, or vote in any poll or election authorized under this article. The members and subcommittee members shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses in participating in committee functions.
(b) The director shall ensure that the participation of the committee of blind vendors is, at a minimum, equal to that required by Section 107b-1 of Title 20 of the United States Code . The responsibilities and actions of the committee of blind vendors shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Participation, with the department, in major administrative decisions and policy and program development. Any implementation of changes in administrative policy or program development that is within the discretion of the department shall occur only after review by this committee of licensed blind vendors.
(2) Receiving grievances of blind vendors and serving as advocates for the vendors.
(3) Participation, with the department, in the development and administration of a transfer and promotion system for blind vendors.
(4) Participation, with the department, in developing training and retraining programs.
(5) Sponsorship, with the assistance of the department, of meetings and instructional conferences for blind vendors.
(c) The committee of licensed blind vendors may contract for professional services, including, but not limited to, legal counsel. Payment for professional services rendered to the committee of licensed blind vendors shall be made from state vending machine income pursuant to subdivisions (d) and (e) of Section 19630 .
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