Political maneuverings already plaguing 23rd Council

The 23rd Navajo Nation Council is holding its first special session. After invocation and introductions, the Council took up its first legislation, which is to elect a speaker pro tem.

Delegate Dwight Witherspoon notes that the Council has been put in the corner regarding nominations for speaker pro tem because when Delegate LoRenzo Bates was presiding, Bates advised Delegate Davis Filfred to make a amendment instead nomination.

Delegate Amber Crotty raises Question of Privilege regarding request by Witherspoon for motioning party, Delegate David Filfred, to withdraw his motion, which would allow for other nominations for speaker pro tem.

Filfred, a returning delegate from the 21st Council, says that the Council should just vote on his amendment.

Delegate Crotty raises another Question of Privilege and cites Council floor rule regarding nomination of speaker pro tem. According to Council rules, delegates may make nominations without a second.

Speaker Pro Tem Mel Begay says that when he took the reins from Bates that there was an amendment on the floor and so the Council needs to vote on the Cease Debate motion.

Cease Debate Vote is 14 in favor, 9 opposed. The Cease Debate Vote fails because 16 “yes” votes are required or a super majority vote.

Pro Tem Begay says that the failure of the Cease Debate signals the nomination of another pro tem candidate.

Delegate Leonard Tsosie interprets Council floor rules as allowing amendments instead of nominations because its the Council’s first session before the Winter Session. Tsosie urges Council to vote by acclamation for Bates to be speaker pro tem.

Delegate Witherspoon says he wanted to nominate a new delegate but with the amendment on the floor, he cannot do that.

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