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Is Navajo Council Delegate Tsosie withdrawing amendment on Navajo language fluency requirement for all elected positions
October 23, 2014 Professional Journal

Here at the Navajo Nation Council where lawmakers heatly debating Legislation 0298-14 “An Action Relating To An Emergency; To Address A Matter Which Directly Threatens The Sovereignty Of The Navajo Nation; Amending Language Requirements Of The Navajo Nation”

POINT OF ORDER, DELEGATE KATHERINE BENALLY
cite rule 25-6, general comment: ask for another attorney. i have some suspicious cuz two gentlemen/attorneys have been going into executive session with election board. so let’s get someone else to interpret law for us.

SPEAKER PRO TEMP BATES
when you look at point of privelege language it talks to dignity of proceedings so allow Chief Legislative Counsel Levon Henry to answer.

CHIEF LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL HENRY
in talking about sandoval v election board was in 2013 and involved school board member and involved post election challenge. on may 30, 2012, candidate filed for school board and on july 6, 2013, new qualifications statute passed and nov. 6, candidate elected. on nov. 6, elections held and nov. 15 challenged in ten days period. on nov. 27, Office of Hearing and Appeals dismissed case cuz new statutes not enforced and could not be retroactive. in december, got to supreme court which reversed OHA cuz candidate met new standards. “the issue is not retroactive to candidate’s filing but forward to election that has not occured. when council made changes in july, court said he should have met qualification in May. so when talking about going back then candidate should have met qualifications but also saying that when council passed new qualifications it should have applied to future elections and so candidate didn’t meet qualifications. it’s one of those things about timing in Sandoval case and how applies to this issue, when amendments here, you take out references to retro and apply to Nov. 4 general election. when president signs then council legislation becomes law.

SPEAKER PRO TEMP BATES
Point of order by Delegate Benally, as i look through rules i see nothing that determines your concern.

DELEGATE ROSCOE SMITH
I think that the tide is turning against Delegate Tsosie’s legislation, which is also having a lot of problems. And so I’ll give my time to Delegate Tsosie to decide if he wants to withdraw his legislation.

DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE
It really bothers me that my legislation has been misinterpreted. The school boards and farm boards will be challenged cuz not in law that people will decided qualifications. I am only trying to address Delegate Nelson Begay and I don’t understand why he’s not standing up for me.

The law is applicable to next election and arbiter will be people so long as you speak some version of the Navajo language, so long as elder speaks to you and understand. We are not getting rid of Navajo language. It was removed in 1990 for council delegates.

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