An Act for the Establishment and Operation of Vending Facilities by the Blindstate Model Bill

Be it Enacted

Section 1. Purpose. For the purpose of providing blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarging the economic opportunities of the blind and stimulating the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting, blind persons licensed in accordance with this Act shall be authorized to operate vending facilities on all public property.

Section 2. Administration and licensing. This Act shall be administered by the state agency which, pursuant to 20 USC, Sec. 107 et. seq., has been designated by the United States Department of Education as the State Licensing Agency for purposes of implementing the Act of June 20, 1936, commonly known as the "Randolph-Sheppard Act." Such agency (referred to in this act as the "licensing agency") shall issue licenses to blind persons who are qualified to operate vending facilities in accordance with this Act and administer the vending facilities program on behalf of the state.

Section 3. Duties. The licensing agency shall:

(a) survey the vending facility opportunities on all public property;
(b) establish, wherever feasible, vending facilities on public property unless the licensing agency determines that doing so would adversely affect the interests of the state or any of its political subdivisions;
(c) license blind persons for the operation of vending facilities on public property;
(d) provide vending facility equipment and adequate initial stocks of suitable merchandise to licensed blind persons;
(e) provide the necessary training and supervision to licensed blind persons; and
(f) issue rules, developed through active participation with the Committee of Blind Vendors established pursuant to Section 8 of this Act.

Section 4. Licenses. The licensing agency shall issue a license for the operation of a vending facility to any blind person who qualifies for a license in accordance with criteria established and approved by the licensing agency and the Committee of Blind Vendors. In issuing any license, the licensing agency shall give preference to any blind person who is a resident of the state. Each license issued shall be for an indefinite period, but may be terminated by the licensing agency if, after affording the licensee an opportunity to appeal in accordance with Sec. 7, the licensing agency is satisfied that the facility is not being operated in accordance with its rules.

Section 5. Vending Facilities.

(a) No person in control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of any public property may offer or grant to any other party a contract or concession to operate a vending facility unless:

(1) the licensing agency has been offered the opportunity to establish one or more vending facilities on such property; and
(2) a good-faith determination has been made that the licensing agency is not willing to establish a vending facility on such property.

(b) If, on the effective date of this Act, a vending facility is being operated on any public property by a person other than a licensed blind person, when the present contract expires or is terminated, or when a change in the present vending facility is contemplated, the person in control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of the property shall notify the licensing agency and shall attempt to make an agreement with such agency for operation of the vending facility.

Section 6. Vending Machine Income.

(a) If a new vending machine or a replacement for an existing machine is installed after the effective date of this Act on any public property, vending machine income shall accrue to the licensed blind person operating a vending facility on the same property or, if none, to the licensing agency. The licensed blind person or the licensing agency, by contract or otherwise, shall be responsible for servicing and maintaining the vending machines from which vending machine income is received.
(b) Vending machine income which accrues to the licensing agency pursuant to paragraph (a) may be used for:

(1) maintenance and replacement of equipment;
(2) the purchase of new equipment;
(3) management services;
(4) assuring a fair minimum return to vendors; or
(5) establishing retirement funds, health insurance contributions, paid sick leave and vacation time for licensed blind vendors.
(c) vending machine income which accrues to the licensing agency pursuant to paragraph (a) may be used to earn federal funds on a matching basis.

Section. 7. Appeal. Any blind person aggrieved by a decision of the licensing agency under this Act may apply for an administrative review and/or a full evidentiary hearing to be conducted in accordance with procedures established and approved by the licensing agency and the Committee of Blind Vendors.

Sec. 8. Committee of Blind Vendors.

(a) The licensing agency shall provide for the establishment and operation (including payment of all reasonable expenses) of a committee of blind vendors to be composed of representatives elected from among all licensed blind vendors within the state. The licensing agency shall provide for a biennial election of a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer who shall serve as the official officers of the Committee.
(b) The Committee shall participate actively in carrying out all of the program management responsibilities assigned to the licensing agency in this Act, and the licensing agency shall insure active participation for the Committee in:

(1) major administrative decisions and policy and program development decisions affecting the overall administration of the state's vending facility program;
(2) receiving and transmitting to the licensing agency grievances at the request of blind vendors and serving as advocates for such vendors in connection with such grievances;
(3) the development and administration of a state system for the transfer and promotion of blind vendors;
(4) the development of training and retraining programs for blind vendors; and
(5) sponsorship of meetings and instructional conferences for blind vendors within the state.

Section 9. Definitions

As used in this Act:
(a) "Active Participation" means an ongoing process of negotiations between the licensing agency and the Committee of Blind Vendors to achieve joint planning and approval of program policies, standards, and procedures affecting the overall operation of the vending facility's program, prior to their implementation by the licensing agency. (b) "Blind Person" means a person whose central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses or whose visual acuity, if better than 20/200, is accompanied by a limit to the field of vision in the better eye to such a degree that its widest diameter subtends an angle of no greater than 20 degrees. In determining whether an individual is blind, there shall be an examination by a physician skilled in diseases if the eye, or by an optometrist, whichever the individual shall select.
(c) "Blind Vendor" means a blind licensee who is operating a vending facility on federal, public, or private property.
(d) "Committee of Blind Vendors" means an officially constituted body within state government, functioning as an integral part of the licensing agency's vending facilities program. The Committee shall be:

(1) fully representative of all licensees;
(2) elected biennially; and
(3) established, constituted, and maintained in accordance with applicable federal regulations.

(e) "Licensing Agency" means the agency designated as the state licensing agency pursuant to 20 USC, Sec. 107 et. seq.
(f) "Licensee" means a blind person licensed to operate a vending facility.
(g) "Public property" means any building, land, or other real property owned, leased, or occupied by the state, any agency of the state, or any political subdivision of the state.
(h) "Vending Facility" means a vending machine, cafeteria, snack bar, cart service, shelter, counter, or any other facility for the vending of newspapers, periodicals, confections, tobacco products, foods, beverages, and other articles or services dispensed automatically or manually and prepared on or off the premises in accordance with all applicable health laws, and including the vending or exchange of chances for any lottery authorized by the state.
(i) "Vending Machine Income" means receipts other than those of a blind licensee from the operation of vending machines on public property, after cost of goods sold, where the machines are operated, serviced or maintained by, or with the approval of the licensing agency or commissions paid other than to a blind licensee by a commercial vending concern which operates, services, or maintains vending machines on public property for, or with the approval of, the licensing agency.