NAVAJO COUNCIL DEBATING ADDITION OF LEGISLATION 0391-14, PARDON OF NAVAJO ELECTION BOARD, TO ITS AGENDA BY PETITION OF 13 DELEGATES.
DELEGATE DUANE TSINIGINE
if 0391-14 is ruled out of order then I will make a motion for Legislation 0249-14, which is the funding of $286,247 for a special presidential election.
DELEGATE EDUMUND YAZZIE
my question draws big worriness, with all respect for what Delegate Tsosie, we say doing this for constituents, but with this legislation, what happens if pass. I thought President only one that pardons, and that President only one that hands over individuals to federal authorities.
(A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC LEAVES IN TEARS AS DELEGATES QUESTION LEGALITY OF ADDING 0391-14 TO ITS AGENDA)
NAVAJO NATION DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DANA BOBROFF
Delegate Tsinigine asked if 0391-14 brought to Council by petition is subject to legal challenge. yes, all legislation subject to legal challenge. and courts look at legislative process when challenges to legislation filed. for indepth discussion, i ask that council go into executive session because Chief Legislative Counsel Levon Henry would be representing Council if lawsuit filed for how 0391-14 placed on Council agenda.
the pardon action has no statutory procedures in place. it is a new step. in the legislation itself, council has pardoned in past but never adopted statutory procedures. perhaps legislative attorney may comment since they did more extensive research.
DELEGATE DWIGHT WITHERSPOON
I had similar question as Delegate Edmund Yazzie and we haven’t heard from legislative counsel. in Title 2, it says Council has authority and pardoned in past. what was the previous pardon?
CHIEF LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL HENRY
what happen if 0391-14 passed? if council decides to address, i believe that resolution speaks to 2 things – pardone and reinstate as election board. the other related question is what will happen after that? i believe election board positions advertised for upcoming election so issue there. Pardon in past – there is nothing in Title 2 that provides Pardon authority. Council legislation to pardon former Chairman MacDonald went directly to Council and legal advice that there is no law for pardoning authority and that the council should create laws regarding pardoning but no laws created.
DELEGATE MEL BEGAY
challenge is precedent and went as far as vote so that sets precedent. the election office and board are voice of people. it was addressed in that mannner by Fort Defiance Council so many of my colleagues are members of Fort Defiance Agency so people asking us to do this and that is what we need to keep in mind. election office component of government. people are the government and people back home hoping for us to do this. of course this action presented at Naabi but however colleagues walked out.
DELEGATE ROSCOE SMITH
if look at resolution, it’s not Naabik’iyati’s resolution, it’s the Council’s resolution. I already voted and inconvience but I’ll vote again. (Smith is a registered voter of the Fort Defiance chapter which is having a special election today for its Council delegate. The race is between former Council Delegate Genevieve Jackson and Ben Bennett.)
DELEGATE DWIGHT WITHERSPOON
How will 0391-14 impact two special elections today? in terms of remedy about Judicial Branch, there is need for judicial review and so there are remedies even though the timelines is not what Delegate Tsosie wants and involves overstepping of powers, especially since there is no pardon law.
DELEGATE DANNY SIMPSON
we are debating legislation and not rules. i know this is last day we can act on legislation and how quickly we forget how we operated in past. challenge has been spelled out. look to Title 2 and that is what on the books and what going by. 163 says Council adopt agenda by rules. Title 2 amended at three times and petition was included. we have come a long ways and certainly what we do as law making body is to hold ourselves accountability. i can see Protection Order filed against the 13 delegates that signed petition. And I believe that 0391-14 should have gone to the Law and Order Committee but it’s been “ram rodded” through.