April 9, 2020
T0: Navajo Nation Council
Via Dana Bobroff
Legislative Branch Chief Legislative Counsel
FROM: Marley Shebala/electronic signature
Journalist, news photographer, documentarian
SUBJECT: Legislation 0077-20:
An Action Relating to an Emergency for the Navajo Nation; Authorizing Navajo Nation Boards and Commissions organized under the Legislative Branch limited approval to conduct meetings through telecommunication methods; Approving a temporary suspension of Title Two provisions requiring board and commission members to be physically present at meetings. Sponsored by Navajo Council Delegate Jamie Henio, who also serves as Budget & Finance Committee chairman.
I have worked on the Navajo Nation for more than 30 years as a journalist and photo-journalist for the Gallup Independent, Farmington Daily Times, Navajo Times, and KTNN news director, which I did because I believe the Navajo people and residents of the Navajo Nation have the right to know what is happening on the Nation, which is Dine’ ancestral homeland.
And for the Dine’ people, the right to know involves their right to know what their Navajo Nation government, which includes the Office of the President and Vice President, the Office of the Speaker, and the Navajo Nation Council, is doing in their name.
But how can they do that if there is no place for them to sit at the table where their Navajo Nation government has gathered to debate and take action involving the spending of the public’s money, especially during this Public Health COVID-19 Emergency.
The Navajo Nation Council has used live-streaming and teleconferencing, which shows that meetings of standing committees, board and commissions can also be live-streamed or by teleconferencing.
Page 2: M.Shebala, Legislation 0077-20
And with live-streaming and teleconferencing, all Dine’ across the U.S. and others, have the opportunity to be immediately informed of emergency decisions by the Navajo Council, standing committees, boards and commission that will impact the lives of everyone on the Navajo Nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please make an amendment to Legislation 0077-20 for language to be added that ensures the live-streaming or teleconferencing of meeting of the Council, standing committees, boards, commissions, and leadership meetings.
Legislation 0077-20, which is an emergency bill that seeks Council’s limited approval for Navajo Nation Boards & Commissions under the Legislative Branch to conduct meetings through through telecommunication methods by temporarily suspending Navajo law, specifically Title Two provisions in the Navajo Nation Code that require board and commission members to be physically present at meetings
Navajo Council Delegate Jamie Henio, a former Navajo Government Development Office employee, is sponsoring 0077-20.