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WCDHH: Bylaws

Article I


The name shall be the Wisconsin Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Article II


The Council’s scope of responsibility includes the full range of concerns of people who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing throughout Wisconsin. This shall include but not be limited to: policy, legislative, program, service and communication access issues. The Council acts in an advisory role for the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing under the Department of Health Services for systematic and service improvements in policy, legislation, programs and services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in Wisconsin. Where needed and/or requested, the Council may provide advisory and consultative services to governmental bodies, private groups, or individuals.

Article III


Section 1: Composition

The membership of the Council shall consist of nine members appointed by the Governor of Wisconsin to serve staggered four-year terms.

Section 2: Recommendations

The Chair of the Council shall appoint a committee of three to have the responsibility to recommend, pending approval of the Council membership, potential members to the Governor in accordance with the criteria listed under Article III, Section 3. The list must be made available to the Governor by April for appointments for a term of four years so arranged that the terms of two or more members expire each year. No member shall serve more than two consecutive four-year terms, though any member filling an unexpired term may be eligible for two consecutive four-year terms. Terms of office shall begin at the September meeting.

Section 3: Composition

The Council may, when appointments are pending, make recommendations to the Governor of members qualified to represent all deaf and hard of hearing citizens. The Council must be comprised of three (3) deaf, three (3) hard of hearing, one (1) deaf-blind and two (2) members at large. These members must include representatives from diverse professional and volunteer organizations working with the deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing communities, and also include parents(s) of deaf/hard of hearing children.

Section 4: Ex Officios

The Director of the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing or a designee of the Office together with any others the Department desires, shall serve on the Council (Ex Officio).

Note: Ex Officio members are allowed to debate and discuss but are not counted as quorum members and are not allowed to vote.

Section 5: Vacancies

Should a position become vacant during a term, a suggestion for replacement shall be forwarded to the Governor's Office.

Section 6: Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

The members attending the Council meetings and other necessary Council duties shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses per state guidelines by the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Necessary council duties other than quarterly Council meetings shall be approved by the Executive Committee if a quorum of the membership cannot be convened.

Article IV

Officers and Duties

Section 1: Officers

The officers shall consist of a Chair, Vice-Chair and a Secretary. Officers elected in September shall serve one year and may be reelected for another one-year term. Members shall have at least one year's experience on the Council prior to election to chair proceedings. A designee from the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing may serve as Secretary.

Section 2: Duties

The Chair shall act as presiding officer at the Council meetings. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair shall act as Chair. The Secretary shall keep records of Advisory Council business and perform appropriate duties regarding Council proceedings. A designee from the Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing may serve as Secretary.

Section 3: Reports

An annual report will be prepared for the September meeting by the Council Secretary, approved by the executive committee and then submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, and others as needed.

Article V


At least one deaf or hard of hearing person shall serve on the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may conduct emergency business as needed; emergency business will subsequently be reported to the Council. Special committees can be created at the Council’s direction and shall be chaired by a representative of the Council. Special committees can include members of the public.

Staff support for the committees shall be provided by the Department of Health Services.

Article VI


Section 1: Annual Business

The first meeting after the start of the state fiscal year (ending June 30) shall be the annual meeting. The first business shall be to install new Council members. At the first annual meeting newly elected officers—elected by secret ballot—shall be seated and assume their responsibilities. Persons receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected.

Section 2: Schedule

The Council shall meet quarterly no fewer than four times per year. Council meeting dates will be determined by majority vote of the Council.

Section 3: Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the Chair or at the request of a quorum of the Council as the situation demands.

Section 4: Quorum

A majority of Council members shall constitute a quorum for the Council meetings. Any council vacancies and Ex-Officios shall not be part of the current quorum. Members participating by way of teleconference shall be considered attending the meeting.

Section 5: Public Meetings

Meetings shall be open to the public and posted at least three weeks prior to the meeting.

Section 6: Meeting Agendas

Requests for items to be included in the agenda shall be submitted to the Chair at least four weeks prior to the meeting. Prior to every Council meeting an agenda shall be distributed to each Council member. Public comment and presentation shall take place after all the Council's business has been completed unless other arrangements are made.

Article VII

Parliamentary Authority

(Previously Section 6, Article VI) Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, Current Edition, in all cases which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with the Bylaws.

These By-Laws may be amended at any regular or special meeting by a 2/3 vote provided that a 30-day notice has been given.

  1. Adopted June 30, 1981
  2. Revised March 1992
  3. Revised term "Office for Hearing Impaired" to "Wisconsin Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing," April 1996.
  4. Revised May 1996
  5. Revision October 1997
  6. Revised March 1998
  7. Revised May 1998
  8. Revised June 2000; “Wisconsin Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing” became “Bureau for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.”
  9. Revised March 2008; “Bureau for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing" became “Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing” and “Division of Supported Living” became “Division of Long Term Care.”
  10. Revised December 2012
  11. Revised December 2017

Disclaimer about advisory council content

This content reflects the views and opinions of the advisory council. It may not reflect the official policy or position of DHS.

Last revised April 5, 2024