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General Laws

Section 67. (a) There shall be a permanent commission on gay and lesbian youth, which shall consist of 27 persons as follows: 3 persons appointed by the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, 3 persons appointed by the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, 2 persons appointed by the Fenway Community Health Center, 4 persons appointed by the Greater Boston Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, 2 persons appointed by the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, 1 person appointed by MassEquality, 1 persons appointed by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, 1 persons appointed by AFT Massachusetts, 3 persons appointed by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2 persons appointed by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network of Boston, 2 persons appointed by the Massachusetts Public Health Association, and 3 persons appointed by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. The membership of the commission shall include at least 1 parent of a gay or lesbian person; 1 high school student; 1 college student; 1 representative from an educational institution; and 1 representative of the mental health professions. Members of the commission shall be drawn from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, age, sexual-orientation and socio-economic backgrounds from throughout the commonwealth. Members shall be considered special state employees for purposes of chapter 268A of the General Laws. The commission shall be an independent agency of the commonwealth and shall not be subject to the control of any other department or agency.

(b)(1) Members shall serve terms of 2 years and until their successors are appointed.

(2) Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled by the original appointing authority for the balance of the unexpired term.

(3) Appointments shall be made in consultation with gay and lesbian organizations. Nominations shall be solicited between August 1 and November 1 of each year through an open application process using a uniform application that is widely distributed throughout the state.

(4) The commission shall elect annually from among its members a chair. The chair of the commission may designate on an annual basis 1 or more commission members as vice-chairs of the commission, and may appoint on an annual basis members of the commission as chairs of advisory committees on high school education, higher education, human services and youth. The chair of the commission may create other advisory committees as needed after consultation with the commission.

(5) The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for any usual and customary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

(c) The commission shall investigate the use of resources from both the public and private sectors to enhance and improve the ability of state agencies to provide services to gay and lesbian youth. In furtherance of that responsibility, the commission shall: (1) work in partnership with the department of education and the department of public health to create school-based and community-based programs focusing on suicide prevention, violence intervention, and the promotion of zero-tolerance policies regarding harassment and discrimination against gay and lesbian youth; and (2) make recommendations about policies and programs supporting gay and lesbian youth on an ongoing basis to the department of education, the department of public health and the executive office of health and human services. The commission shall annually, on or before June 2, report the results of its findings and activities of the preceding year and make recommendations relating to the concerns of gay and lesbian youth to the governor and to the clerks of the senate and house of representatives.

(d) The powers of the commission shall include but not be limited to the following: (1) to use voluntary and uncompensated services of private individuals, agencies and organizations that may from time to time be offered and needed; (2) to recommend policies and make recommendations to agencies and officers of the commonwealth and local subdivisions of government to effectuate the purposes of subsection (c); (3) to select an executive director and to acquire adequate staff to perform its duties, subject to appropriation; (4) to establish and maintain offices that it considers necessary, subject to appropriation; (5) to enact by-laws for its own governance; (f) to appoint members to regional chapters of the commission; and (6) to hold regular, public meetings and to hold fact-finding hearings and other public forums as it may consider necessary.

(e)(1) The commission may request from all state agencies such information and assistance as the commission may require.

(2) The commission may accept and solicit funds, including any gifts, donations, grants or bequests or any federal funds, for any of the purposes of this section. These funds shall be deposited in a separate account with the state treasurer, be received by the treasurer on behalf of the commonwealth, and be expended by the commission in accordance with law.

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