I’m here at the Navajo Council Health, Education & Human Service Committee, where the committe is about to debate Legislation 03200-13 Amending Ttle 24 of the Navajo Nation Code by enactying the Health Dine’ Nation Acty of 2013.
how this legislaitn started, group of us, grassroots, got together to move things togehter for benefit of Nation and realized that the Nation had a health problem. Diabetes is a problem. My mom los 2 legs and died. My brother also got diabetes and passed away. But it can be prevented.
We decided to be responsible by taxing ourselves to show what we are doing to ourselves by consuming junk food in excess. You can have junk food but in moderation.
I didn’t understand tribal legislative process but understand now. Delegate Danny Simpson is sponsoring our legislation. And you know this is the second time that we going thru this legislative process.
We tok ur recommendations/feelings to heart. We met with different entities and continued. lok at as future partners. we werent to 45 chapters, we talked to them, we had booths, we got resolutions. we also went to five agency councils. each time we came to Council standing committees we were asked what do communities feel.
And we went to Dine Policy Institute where we were educated about food rights. We met with Vice President Rex Lee Jim and he is sponsoring legislation. We met with Basha’s and Food & Beverage lobbyist. The lobbyist oppose because its about money them.
We met with faith based groups.
I would do this even if not part of an organiztion. This legislation has brought awareness. We heard about sequestration at Budget & Finance Committee where B&F Vice Chairperson Jonathan Nez told us hat we shud be upset about sequestration.
We separate out legislation from taxation. but lok at title, Navajo Nation Health Act and doesn’t stop here, it goes deep. We have convience stories and allow businesses to pack their shelves with junk food/unhealth food.
I wish I was fly on wall when had Sage Hospital here. I worked for Sage and crated their diabetes program which was recognized nationally.
(Interupts Debbie Canyendito) Please speak to the legislation.
sorry i was because it’s about diabetes.
Student at University of Las Vgas. we know wat we are facing with healthy reality. Junk food/unhealth food has name in Navajo. WE have presented health stats on cost of medical treatment for diabetes: $13,000 per person and total coast across the reservation is $325 million to $2.5 billion. And one our of three Navajos has diabetes. In ten years, all of us here will have diabetes.
Delegates concerned about two percent taxation for chapter wellness fund and strictly for wellness fund. We see kids playing basket ball in the dirt with homemade hoops. Kids are skateboarding on highways.
Delegates also asked, Is this revenue from 2 percent sufficient to contract wellness centers. We realized that $4.5 million to build wellness center so this tax would match chapter funds coming from Council.
And there is a Fund Management Plan overseen by Division of Health. We know from bordertown that there is $44 m spent at Bordertowns. And this taxation will crate jobs, such as Zumba, wellness director. Draw businesses to rez and reduce health care cost which is tied to sequestration and reality of federal funds dewindling.
$73 m is spent on tribal employees for obesity. Company profits geos to health care costs. $150 b spent annually due to absenteeism. $50 million days missed cuz of obesity. But if companies invest $1 then create $6 by reducting absentism, sick leave. Concil concerned about taxing poor pple but pple spending billions at the bordertowns.
So we ask for your support. And like Ms. Cayendento said, we wrote down all your concerns and answered.
we hope that we are able to approrach health conditions thru this legislation. Quoted Health Journals that government has to intervene with taxation. So us as pple have opportunity to address. Lumbe Tribe prohibits used of tribal funds to purchase soda.
Law & Order Committee has concerns and we are watiing for written concerns. Delegate Simpson stated that L&O tabled cuz of Shiprock Fair. And when it went before Resources and Development Committee it was tabled because it was addrsssed late in the afternoon.
DELEGATE JONATHAN HALE
Amend Title 24 of Code is sufficient and don’t need to state in your legislation Health Dine’ Nation Act of 2013.
Will Division of Communtiy Development Local Governance Support Centers oversee taxes? That needs to be clarified.
DELEGATE DWIGHHT WITHERSPOON
Which communities in Arzona and NM have similar tax. and with agencies, we know you can’t make decision so we want to tax you to make good choice. Third, wat provisions do you have for TAx Commission for enforcement such as food sales at schools. How encorage more pple to shop off rez. Wat about communities that break Navajo law. for example, tobacco sold on rez to get away from state tax. Also will junk food bootleggers be created.
Enforcement? Fourth areaa of question is specific products, example if I want diet soda, you would tax. If wanted hot chocolate that wud be taxed. Tax coffee? or tax when put sugar in? and V8? cake mix? bag of sugar? canister of salt? flavored water? sugared cereal?
DELEGATE JOSH BUTLER
Plez don’t video tape me. Pple take photos and abuse them on social media.
DELEGATE JOANTHAN HALE
seems that since Delegate Simpson an experienced legislation that he wud have Tax Office here. And it’s lunch time now. so why said, appears that tabled just to move on. Legislative counsel contacted and still waiting. this legislation goiog to all committees. Not belittling legislation but move forward so eventually Council approve.
Leave up to colleagues on what do.
DELEGATE WALTER PHELPS
Law & Order tabled on Oct. 6 and they received report on Oct. 9 from Special Diabetes project from Office of Controller. These funds are for prevention of diabetes and nation has over $14 million returning to federal government.
Lst time this bill came to us, I suspected not spending Special Diabetes funds and Indian Health Services person said everything hokey dorie and we are spending funds. So I dk how much wud be generated with 2 percent tax and here we are letting $14 million go.
When saw, I was upset. You guys should be upset.
Brings back question also of why Controller holding onto Indirect Cost/administrative cost and not deawing down for expenditures.
DELEGATE JOSH BUTLER
i don’t think this is ready. you need to explore possiblity of taking this to the ppel cuz 2 percent sales tax. we initially are taxing the ppor. the federal govt has pple on furlough. economy not vibrant. elders on fixed income. Take to the pple by referendum. Nation shud not impose additonal tax. That is my recommendation. Let the ppel vote on it. let them decide if they want to pay extra tax. this is coming from top down, advocacy grup. if truly coming from pple they wud vote on it.
DELEGATE JONATHAN HALE
meet with Navajo Board of Election Supervisors and Council appropriated funds for referendum.
DELEGATE DWIGHT WITHERSPOON
I want my questions answered.
DELEGATE CHARLES DAMON
For example, when my sugar is low, i take water and add sugar so what is taxed?
Az and NM have proposed soda tax and by ounces. also in communities have MacDonald that announced that water and juice default drinke. Sugary drinks in child care centers eliniated. Snacks at schools qualify as healthy so can buy candy which schools have identified as healthy.
pple shopping at bordertowns, 2 percent tax is awreness and how can they vote when addiction. they will have that soda. This committee concerned about behavior change. 14 percent tax wud be behavior change but 2 percent is awareness.
We are the pple and it’s coming from the pple. we have experience in health field. as far as bordertowns, $44 million spent at bordetowns. if chapters townships, they wud have money. and it’s not going to bring bootleagers. 99.9 percent of rez considered healthy food desert and if go to stores and nothing healthy then that is human rights violation.
causes tumors and cancers and sweetners don’t provide nutrition. foods that are high in fat, sugar. Cake mixes are in definitions. flavored water is big issues cuz first Lady Obama has campaign for just water. Medical organization has taxed. American Health administration supports junk food tax. Sugary drinks lack nutrition. Sugar cereal wud be taxed.
As far as Delegate Butler, Tax Office needs to be here. We have 45 chapter resolutions and 5 agency council resolutions of support.
you are saying we tax poor pple. if we don’t address…
DELEGATE JOSH BUTLER
(Interupts Ms Livingston)
DELEGATE DWIGHT WITHERSPOON/DELEGATE WALTER PHELPS
Line 16 amend to say Navajo enact Healthy Dine Nation Awareness Act.
VOTE ON AMENDMENT ONE: 3 IN FAVOR, 1 OPPOSED
DELEGTE JOSH BUTLER
Reiterate that want TAx Office & Division of Health representative, Election Office rep here.
Return in 30 days.
our passion is to get something done and if referendum then will do that.
Get done this afternoon.
i have important meeting at 2 pm
COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON CHARLES DAMON
table until 2 pm
VOTE 4 in favor, 0 opposed.