Randolph-Sheppard Act

Compiled for Administrative Use

Randolph-Sheppard Act
P.L. 74-732, AS AMENDED BY
P.L. 83-565, AND P.L. 93-516
(20 U.S.C. 107 et seq.)

AN ACT to authorize the operation of stands in Federal buildings by blind persons, to enlarge the economic opportunities of the blind, and for other purposes

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.

That (a) for the purposes 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 under the provisions of this Act shall be authorized to operate vending facilities on any Federal property.

(b) In authorizing the operation of vending facilities on Federal property, priority shall be given to blind persons licensed by a State agency as provided in this Act; and the Secretary, through the Commissioner, shall, after consultation with the Administrator of General Services and other heads of departments, agencies, or instrumentalities of the United States in control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of Federal property, prescribe regulations designed to assure that--

  1. the priority under this subsection is given to such licensed blind persons (including assignment of vending machine income pursuant to section 7 of this Act to achieve and protect such priority), and
  2. wherever feasible, one or more vending facilities are established on all Federal property to the extent that any such facility or facilities would not adversely affect the interests of the United States.

Any limitation on the placement or operation of a vending facility based on a finding that such placement or operation would adversely affect the interests of the United States shall be fully justified in writing to the Secretary, who shall determine whether such limitation is justified. A determination made by the Secretary pursuant to this provision shall be binding on any department, agency or instrumentality of the United States affected by such determination. The Secretary shall publish such determination, along with supporting documentation, in the Federal Register.

SEC. 2. (a) The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare shall--

  1. Insure that the Rehabilitation Services Administration is the principal agency for carrying out this Act; and the Commissioner shall, within one hundred and eighty days after enactment of the Randolph-Sheppard Act Amendments of 1974, establish requirements for the uniform application of this Act by each State agency designated under paragraph (5) of this subsection, including appropriate accounting procedures, policies on the selection and establishment of new vending facilities, distribution of income to blind vendors, and the use and control of set-aside funds under section 3(3) of this Act;
  2. Through the Commissioner, make annual surveys of concession vending opportunities for blind persons on Federal and other property in the United States, particularly with respect to Federal property under the control of the General Services Administration, the Department of Defense, and the United States Postal Service;
  3. Make surveys throughout the United States of industries with a view to obtaining information that will assist blind persons to obtain employment;
  4. Make available to the public, and especially to persons and organizations engaged in work for the blind, information obtained as a result of such surveys;
  5. Designate as provided in section 3 of this Act the State agency for the blind in each State, or, in any State in which there is no such agency, some other public agency to issue licenses to blind persons who are citizens of the United States for the operating of vending facilities on Federal and other property in such State 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, as determined by the State licensing agency, and including the vending or exchange of chances for any lottery authorized by State law and conducted by an agency of a state; and
  6. Through the Commissioner, (A) conduct periodic evaluations of the program authorized by this Act, including upward mobility and other training required by section 8, and annually submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report based on such evaluations, and (B) take such other steps, including the issuance of such rules and regulations as may be necessary or desirable in carrying out the provisions of this Act.

(b) The State licensing agency shall, in issuing each such license for the operation of a vending facility, give preference to blind persons who are in need of employment. Each such license shall be issued for an indefinite period but may be terminated by the State licensing agency if it is satisfied that the facility is not being operated in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed by such licensing agency. Such licenses shall be issued only to applicants who are blind within the meaning of this Act.

(c) The State licensing agency designated by the Secretary is authorized, with the approval of the head of the department or agency in control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of the Federal property on which the facility is to be located, but subject to regulations prescribed pursuant to the first section, to select a location for such facility and the type of facility to be provided.

(d)(1) After January 1, 1975, no department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States shall undertake to acquire by ownership, rent, lease, or to otherwise occupy, in whole or in part, any building unless, after consultation with the head of such department, agency, or instrumentality and the State licensing agency, it is determined by the Secretary that (A) such building includes a satisfactory site or sites for the location and operation of a vending facility by a blind person, or (B) if a building is to be constructed, substantially altered, or renovated, or in the case of a building that is already occupied on such date by such department, agency or instrumentality, is to be substantially altered or renovated for use by such department, agency, or instrumentality, the design for such construction, substantial alteration, or renovation includes a satisfactory site or sites for the location and operation of a vending facility by a blind person. Each such department, agency, or instrumentality shall provide notice to the appropriate State licensing agency of its plans for occupation, acquisition, renovation, or relocation of a building adequate to permit such State agency to determine whether such building includes a satisfactory site or sites for a vending facility.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall not apply (A) when the Secretary and the State licensing agency determine that the number of people using the property is or will be insufficient to support a vending facility, or (B) to any privately owned building, any part of which is leased by any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States and in which, (i) prior to the execution of such lease, the lessor or any of his tenants had in operation a restaurant or other food facility in a part of the building not included in such lease, and (ii) the operation of such a vending facility by a blind person would be in proximate and substantial direct competition with such restaurant or other food facility except that each such department, agency, and instrumentality shall make every effort to lease property in privately owned buildings capable of accommodating a vending facility.

(3) For the purposes of this subsection, the term "satisfactory site" means an area determined by the Secretary to have sufficient space, electrical and plumbing outlets, and such other facilities as the Secretary may by regulation prescribe, for the location and operation of a vending facility by a blind person.

(e) In any State having an approved plan for vocational rehabilitation pursuant to the Vocational Rehabilitation Act or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112), the State licensing agency designated under paragraph (5) of subsection (a) of this section shall be the State agency designated under section 101(a)(1)(A) of such Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

SEC. 3. A State agency for the blind or other State agency desiring to be designated as the licensing agency shall, with the approval of the chief executive of the State, make application to the Secretary and agree--

  1. to cooperate with the Secretary in carrying out the purpose of this Act;
  2. to provide for each licensed blind person such vending facility equipment, and adequate initial stock of suitable articles to be vended therefrom, as may be necessary: Provided, however, That such equipment and stock may be owned by the licensing agency for use of the blind, or by the blind individual to whom the license is issued: And provided further, That if ownership of such equipment is vested in the blind licensee, (A) the State licensing agency shall retain a first option to repurchase such equipment and (B) in the event such individual dies or for any other reason ceases to be a licensee or transfers to another vending facility, ownership of such equipment shall become vested in the State licensing agency (for transfer to a successor licensee) subject to an obligation on the part of the State licensing agency to pay to such individual (or to his estate) the fair value of his interest therein as later determined in accordance with regulations of the State licensing agency and after opportunity for a fair hearing;
  3. that if any funds are set aside, or caused to be set aside, from the net proceeds of the operation of the vending facilities such funds shall be set aside, or caused to be set aside, only to the extent necessary for and may be used only for the purposes of (A) maintenance and replacement of equipment; (B) the purchase of new equipment; (C) management services; (D) assuring a fair minimum return to operators of vending facilities; and (E) retirement or pension funds, health insurance contributions, and provision for paid sick leave and vacation time, if it is determined by a majority vote of blind licensees licensed by such State agency, after such agency provides to each such licensee full information on all matters relevant to such proposed program, that funds under this paragraph shall be set aside for such purposes: Provided, however, That in no event shall the amount of such funds to be set aside from the net proceeds of any vending facility exceed a reasonable amount which shall be determined by the Secretary;
  4. to make such reports in such form and containing such information as the Secretary may from time to time require and to comply with such provisions as he may from time to time find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports;
  5. to issue such regulations, consistent with the provisions of this Act, as may be necessary for the operation of this program;
  6. to provide to any blind licensee dissatisfied with any action arising from the operation or administration of the vending facility program an opportunity for a fair hearing, and to agree to submit the grievances of any blind licensee not otherwise resolved by such hearing to arbitration as provided in section 5 of this Act.

SEC. 4. (a) The Secretary is authorized to make such expenditures out of any money appropriated therefor (including expenditures for personal services and rent at the seat of government and elsewhere, books of reference and periodicals, for printing and binding, and for traveling expenses) as he may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.

(b) The Secretary shall, in employing such additional personnel as may be necessary, give preference to blind persons who are capable to discharging the required duties.

SEC. 5. (a) Any blind licensee who is dissatisfied with any action arising from the operation or administration of the vending facility program may submit to a State licensing agency a request for a full evidentiary hearing, which shall be provided by such agency in accordance with section 3(6) of this Act. If such blind licensee is dissatisfied with any action taken or decision rendered as a result of such hearing, he may file a complaint with the Secretary who shall convene a panel to arbitrate the dispute pursuant to section 6 of this Act, and the decision of such panel shall be final and binding on the parties except as otherwise provided in this Act.

(b) Whenever any State licensing agency determines that any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States that has control of the maintenance, operation, and protection of Federal property is failing to comply with the provisions of this Act or any regulations issued thereunder (including a limitation on the placement or operation of a vending facility as described in section 1(b) of this Act and the Secretary's determination thereon) such licensing agency may file a complaint with the Secretary who shall convene a panel to arbitrate the dispute pursuant to section 6 of this Act, and the decision of such panel shall be final and binding on the parties except as otherwise provided in this Act.

SEC. 6. (a) Upon receipt of a complaint filed under section 5 of this Act, the Secretary shall convene an ad hoc arbitration panel as provided in subsection (b). Such panel shall, in accordance with the provisions of subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code, give notice, conduct a hearing, and render its decision which shall be subject to appeal and review as a final agency action for purposes of chapter 7 of such title 5.

(b)(1) The arbitration panel convened by the Secretary to hear grievances of blind licensees shall be composed of three members appointed as follows:

(A) one individual designed by the State licensing agency;

(B) one individual designated by the blind licensee; and

(C) one individual, not employed by the State licensing agency or, where appropriate, its parent agency, who shall serve as chairman, jointly designated by the members appointed under subparagraphs (A) and (B).

If any party fails to designate a member under subparagraph (1)(A), (B), or (C), the Secretary shall designate such member on behalf of such party.

(2) The arbitration panel convened by the Secretary to hear complaints filed by a State licensing agency shall be composed of three members appointed as follows:

(A) one individual, designated by the State licensing agency;

(B) one individual, designated by the head of the Federal department, agency, or instrumentality controlling the Federal property over which the dispute arose; and

(C) one individual, not employed by the Federal department, agency, or instrumentality controlling the Federal property over which the dispute arose, who shall serve as chairman, jointly designated by the members appointed under subparagraphs (A) and (B).

If any party fails to designate a member under subparagraph (2)(A), (B), or (C), the Secretary shall designate such member on behalf of such party. If the panel appointed pursuant to paragraph (2) finds that the acts or practices of any such department, agency, or instrumentality are in violation of this Act, or any regulation issued thereunder, the head of any such department, agency, or instrumentality shall cause such acts or practices to be terminated promptly and shall take such other action as may be necessary to carry out the decision of the panel.

(c) The decisions of a panel convened by the Secretary pursuant to this section shall be matters of public record and shall be published in the Federal Register.

(d) The Secretary shall pay all reasonable costs of arbitration under this section in accordance with a schedule of fees and expenses he shall publish in the Federal Register.

SEC. 7. (a) In accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, vending machine income obtained from the operation of vending machines on Federal property shall accrue (1) to the blind licensee operating a vending facility on such property, or (2) in the event there is no blind licensee operating such facility on such property, to the State agency in whose State the Federal property is located, for the uses designated in subsection (c) of this section, except that with respect to income which accrues under clause (1) of this subsection, the Commissioner may prescribe regulations imposing a ceiling on income from such vending machines for an individual blind licensee. In the event such a ceiling is imposed, no blind licensee shall receive less vending machine income under such ceiling than he was receiving on January 1, 1974. No limitation shall be imposed on income from vending machines, combined to create a vending facility, which are maintained, serviced, or operated by a blind licensee. Any amounts received by a blind licensee that are in excess of the amount permitted to accrue to him under any ceiling imposed by the Commissioner shall be disbursed to the appropriate State agency under clause (2) of this subsection and shall be used by such agency in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

(b)(1) After January 1, 1975, 100 per centum of all vending machine income from vending machines on Federal property which are in direct competition with a blind vending facility shall accrue as specified in subsection (a) of this section. "Direct competition" as used in this section means the existence of any vending machines or facilities operated on the same premises as a blind vending facility except that vending machines or facilities operated in areas serving employees the majority of whom normally do not have direct access to the blind vending facility shall not be considered in direct competition with the blind vending facility. After January 1, 1975, 50 per centum of all vending machine income from vending machines on Federal property which are not in direct competition with a blind vending facility shall accrue as specified in subsection (a) of this section, except that with respect to Federal property at which at least 50 per centum of the total hours worked on the premises occurs during periods other than normal working hours, 30 per centum of such income shall so accrue.

(2) The head of each department, agency, and instrumentality of the United States shall insure compliance with this section with respect to buildings, installations, and facilities under his control, and shall be responsible for collection of, and accounting for, such vending machine income.

(c) All vending machine income which accrues to a State licensing agency pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be used to establish retirement or pension plans, for health insurance contributions, and for provision of paid sick leave and vacation time for blind licensees in such State, subject to a vote of blind licensees as provided under section 3(3)(E) of this Act. Any vending machine income remaining after application of the first sentence of this subsection shall be used for the purposes specified in sections 3(3)(A), (B), (C), and (D) of this Act, and any assessment charged to blind licensees by a State licensing agency shall be reduced pro rata in an amount equal to the total of such remaining vending machine income.

(d) Subsections (a) and (b)(1) of this section shall not apply to income from vending machines within retail sales outlets under the control of exchange or ships' stores systems authorized by title 10, United States Code, or to income from vending machines operated by the Veterans Canteen Service, or to income from vending machines not in direct competition with a blind vending facility at individual locations, installations, or facilities on Federal property the total of which at such individual locations, installations, or facilities does not exceed $3,000 annually.

(e) The Secretary, through the Commissioner, shall prescribe regulations to establish a priority for the operation of cafeterias on Federal property by blind licensees when he determines, on an individual basis and after consultation with the head of the appropriate installation, that such operation can be provided at a reasonable cost with food of a high quality comparable to that currently provided to employees, whether by contract or otherwise.

(f) This section shall not operate to preclude preexisting or future arrangements, or regulations of departments, agencies or instrumentalities of the United States, under which blind licensees (1) receive a greater percentage or amount of vending machine income than that specified in subsection (b)(1) of this section, or (2) receive vending machine income from individual locations, installations, or facilities on Federal property the total of which at such individual locations, installations, or facilities does not exceed $3,000 annually.

(g) The Secretary shall take such action and promulgate such regulations as he deems necessary to assure compliance with this section.

SEC. 8. The Commissioner shall insure, through promulgation of appropriate regulations, that uniform and effective training programs, including on-the-job training, are provided for blind individuals, through services under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-112). He shall further insure that State agencies provide programs for upward mobility (including further education and additional training or retraining for improved work opportunities) for all trainees under this Act, and that follow-along services are provided to such trainees to assure that their maximum vocational potential is achieved.

SEC. 9. As used in this Act--

(1) "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 twenty degrees. In determining whether an individual is blind, there shall be an examination by a physician skilled in diseases of the eye, or by an optometrist, whichever the individual shall select;

(2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration;

(3) "Federal property" means any building, land, or other real property owned, leased, or occupied by any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States (including the Department of Defense and the United States Postal Service), or any other instrumentality wholly owned by the United States, or by any department or agency of the District of Columbia or any territory or possession of the United States;

(4) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare;

(5) "State" means a State, territory, possession, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia;

(6) "United States" includes the several States, territories, and possessions of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia;

(7) "vending facility" means automatic vending machines, cafeterias, snack bars, cart service, shelters, counters, and such other appropriate auxiliary equipment as the Secretary may by regulation prescribe as being necessary for the sale of the articles or services described in section 2(a)(5) of this Act and which may be operated by blind licensees; and

(8) "vending machine income" means receipts (other than those of a blind licensee) from vending machine operations on Federal property, after cost of goods sold (including reasonable service and maintenance costs), where the machines are operated, serviced, or maintained by, or with the approval of, a department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States, or commissions paid (other than to a blind licensee) by a commercial vending concern which operates, services, and maintains vending machines on Federal property for, or with the approval of, a department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States.

SEC. 10. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for carrying out the provisions of this Act.