Well, the sky hasn’t fallen…That was what Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize predicted would happen if the Navajo Nation Court denied his request for the Court to immediately black the Council from placing him on paid leave.
According to Naize’s legal CLAIMS to the Court, the paid leave would “threaten to further disrupt the Navajo Government and even incapacitate the Legislative, if not more of the Navajo Government. Accordingly, defendants conduct has, and will continue to inflict irreparable harm unless and until this Court grants the relief sought here.”
But yesterday, the Council’s Naabik’iyati Committee convened and recessed without any of the delegates standing up, shouting and banging their desks or walking out.
The Naabi Committee meeting was actually a lot more professional. What I mean is that it started about 30 minutes late, instead of a couple of hours late. And it didn’t drag on into the evening. It ended about 2 p.m. and so legislative staff and other legislative employees went home at 5 p.m.
But I was not surprised because that is the way that Delegate LoRenzo Bates, who is now Speaker Pro Temp, conducts the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee meetings. Bates, as the B&F Committee chairperson, talked with his committee members about how they would conduct their meetings and they all agreed that if the committee lacked a quorum about 30 minutes after the scheduled time for the meeting to start that Bates could adjourn the meeting.
And another B&F committee consensus is that if a sponsor of legislation is not in the B&F committee room when the legislation is called before the B&F committee, then the B&F committee will go to the next legislation.
The first item on the Naabi agenda was Legislation 0078-14: Opposing the use Disparaging references to Native people in Professional Sports Franchises. Delegate Joshua Lavar Butler was the primary sponsor but other delegates that also signed 0078-14 as co-sponsors were Katherine Benally, Jonathan Nez, Charles Damon II, and Alton J. Shepherd. The Naabi voted 9 in favor, 2 opposed.
The votes on the following legislation were:
Legislation 0043-14: Approving $200,000 in supplemental funding from the Reserves for Navajo Air Transportation to maintain aging aircraft fleet and to buy jet fuel. SPONSOR – Delegate Jonathan L. Hale VOTE 10 in favor, 2 opposed
Legislation 0083-14: Overriding President Ben Shelly’s veto of Council Resolution CJA-04-14, which is the Healthy Dine’ Nation Act. SPONSOR – Delegate Jonathan L. Hale VOTE 8 in favor, 3 opposed. 0083-14 now goes to Council for final action.
Legislation 0084-14: Overriding President Shelly’s veto of Navajo Council Legislation CJA-05-14, which is the Elimination of Sales Tax on Fruits, Vegetables, Water. VOTE 10 in favor, 2 opposed. 0084-14 now goes to Council for final action.
Legislation 0086-14: Approving 2014 Indirect Cost Carryover Budget of $423,149.98 for the Council for 2014. SPONOSR – Speaker Johnny Naize. Co-SPONSOR – Delegate David Tom. VOTE 11 in favor, 0 opposed
Legislation 0087-14: Approving 2014 Indirect Cost Carryover Budget of $86,559.58 for the Office of Legislative Counsel for 2014. SPONSOR – Speaker Naize. NO VOTE because no Sponsor.
Legislation 0088-14: Approving the 2014 Indirect Cost Carryover Budget of $160,701.36 for the Office of Legislation Counsel for 2014. SPONSOR – Speaker Naize. NO VOTE because no Sponsor.
Legislation 0089-14: Approving the 2014 Indirect Cost Carryover Budget of $97,081.08 for Office of the Speaker for 2014. SPONSOR – Speaker Naize. NO VOTE because no Sponsor.
Legislation 0094-14: Confirming the appointing of Herman Farley as the Northern Agency Council representative to the Navajo Nation Government Development Commission. SPONSOR – Delegate Russell Begaye. CO-SPONSOR – Delegate Dwight Witherspoon. VOTE 13 in favor, 0 opposed.
Legislation 0096-14: Supporting Arizona H.B. 2208 “An Act making an appropriation to the Department of Economic Security for Distribution to the Navajo Nation for the Veterans Housing Project. SPONSOR – Delegate Jonathan Hale. VOTE 14 in favor, 0 opposed.
Legislation 0097-14: Supporting New Mexico House Memorial 43 “A Memorial requesting the Indian Education Division of the Public Education Department and the Indian Affairs Department to Study the feasibility of a Bi-State Charter School in Red Lake Chapter.” SPONSOR – Delegate Jonathan Hale. VOTE 14 in favor, 0 opposed.
The next Naabik’iyati Committee is April 17.
DELEGATES that were absent from the April 10, 2014, meeting were George Apachito, Mel Begay, Katherine Benally, Kenneth Maryboy, Johnny Naize, Walter Phelps and Duane Tsinigine.
Delegate Edmund Yazzie was also absent but he notified Speaker Pro Temp LoRenzo Bates prior to the Naabi meeting that he needed to take care of family matters.
DELEGATES that were present at the April 10, 2014, meeting were Bates, Jonathan Nez, Danny Simpson, Lorenzo Curley, Nelson BeGaye, Roscoe Smith, Leonard Tsosie, Leonard Pete, Alton Shepherd, Elmer Begay, Russell Begaye, Jonathan Hale, Charles Damon II, Dwight Witherspoon, and Joshua Lavar Butler.
The Navajo Nation Office of the Speaker Public Information Office also issued a PRESS RELEASE about the April 10 Naabi meeting.
The Council’s Health, Education and Human Services Committee met on April 9 and the Speaker’s Office also issued a PRESS RELEASE on the HEHS Committee’s April 9 meeting.