UPDATES on Navajo Council special session, 1.7.22

Greetings Relatives/Frens/Humans, I will be posting On The Spot Reporting on the Navajo Nation Council Special Session today, 1.7.22, so stay tuned. You can also see my Reporting on my FB page.

It is now 10:37 am, 1.7.22, and Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon announced that due to the High number of positive cases involving COVID-19 or Omicron, the Navajo Nation Legislative Branch will work remotely.
Damojn said All Legislative Branch offices are being cleaned due to high number of positive COVID-19 cases and postive Omicron cases among Legislative Branch staff, and Legislative Branch employees are also reporting that they are coming into contact with positive COVID-19 cases and positive Omicron cases.
“I had to make that decision,” Damon informed the Navajo Council. “We will make sure that there is working access to daily management, such as P-Cards, claims. And Work will continue on legislation for Navajo Nation Council Winter Session.”

It is now 10:48 am, 1.7.22, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Vince James wants a Verbal Report from Navajo Nation Division of Social Services Deannah Neswood-Gishey regarding Burial Assistance. James said that mortuaries are not working with the Navajo Nation Burial Assistance.

It is now 10:54 am, 1.7.22, Navajo Nation Chief Legislative Counsel Dana Bobroff is responding to a question from Law & Order Committee Chairwoman Eugenia Charles-Newton is asking why Legislation 0215-21, the confirmation of Marcus Tulley to the Navajo Government Development Commission, is being added to the Special Council Session today, 1.7.21, because it is not an Emergency Legislation. Charles-Newton explained that the Navajo people have the right to review Agenda Items on any & all Proposed Council Agendas. She added that Legislation 0215-21 can be addressed during the Council Winter Session, which is in two weeks.

It is now 11:06 am, 1.7.22, Navajo Council Law & Order Chairwoman Eugenia Charles-Newton questions the addition of Legislation to the Special Council Agenda because the Council’s Proposed Agenda goes out to the Public for their Review & Awareness so they will know what the Council will be debating and acting and they can decide to attend the Council session based on the Council’s Proposed Agenda.
Charles-Newton also noted that the Council’s Winter Session is about nine days away and so she is also wondering why another Special Session was Called by some Delegates.
Navajo Council Delegates Herman Daniels and Otto Tso argue that the Council has set Precedent by Allowing the adding of non-Emergency Legislation to Special Council Sessions.

It is now 11:14 am, 1.7.22, Navajo Council Delegate Mark Freeland says Legislation 0215-21 has been on the Council Website since October for Public Review. “All our people need to do is long onto,” Freeland says. “It works really well for me.”
The Council website for Legislation needs to be used.
FYI – Delegate Freeland: Law & Order Committee Chairwoman Eugenia Charles-Newton concern is the the Council calls Special Sessions and Advertises its Proposed Agenda. And so when the Navajo People read the Council’s Special Session Proposed Agenda, they believe that what is on the Council Special Session Proposed Agenda will be discussed at the Special Session, and not an Amended Agenda. The Navajo People have a Rigth to Know what the Navajo Government is doing in their Name!

It is now 11:26 am, 1.7.22, and the Navajo Council votes 22 in favor, zero opposed to add a Report from the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services Gishey regarding the division’s Burial Assistance.
Navajo Council Delegates Raymond Smith Jr. and Eugene Tso are asking Council to Move Reports to the Bottom of the Agenda and put proposed Legislation before Reports.

It is now 11:30 am, 1.7.22, and the Navajo Council voted to Move Legislation ahead of Reports. I missed the Voting Tally, but it did pass.

It is now 11:38 am, 1.7.22, and Delegate Herman Daniels said he made directive for Help for unsheltered Navajo Veterans a month or more ago and he has not heard anything from the Executive Branch regarding Emergency shelter for Unsheltered Navajo Veterans..

It is now 11:42 am, 1.7.22, and Navajo Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay says that During Report on Burial Assistance, he would request that a Report on Home Heating Assistance also be included.
The Council votes 23 in favor, zero opposed to Adopt its Agenda. The Council takes up Emergency Legislation 0268-21, which seeks Council approval for Chapters to Continue Conducting Official Business Through a Quorum of Three (3) Registered Chapter Members; Limiting Chapter Business to COVID-19 Matters, the Navajo Nation Emergency Declaration, Budget Authorizations, and Additional Topics Approved on a Case-By-Case Basis by the Division Director of the Division of Community Development in Consultation with the Navajo Department of Justice; Directing the Chapters to Provide the Public with a Telephonic and/or Video-Conferencing Call-in Numbers Allowing the Navajo People to Participate in their Chapter Meetings; and Re-enacting Resolution CAP-19-20 Sections Three, Four, Five, Seven, and Nine Authorizations That Assist the Chapter to Provide Services to their Communities in a Safe Manner. The SPONSOR is Delegate Herman M. Daniels, Jr.

It is now 11:56 am, 1.7.22, and the Navajo Council is hearing from Naavajo Division of Community Development Director Yellowman, who informed the Council that the 110 chapters have been conducting business during pandemic and we support Legislation 0268-21 to communicate with community, be transparent, safety of local officials.
Sonlatsa Jim-Martin, DCD Administrative Services Center Department Manager, says they have been meeting with Navajo Justice Dept. One important point is have Consistent Update on COVID and Variants from Navajo Dept of Health to better help us with chapters, who sometimes need Safety Teams to be Safe and when have In-Person Meetings. If another extension of Chapter Operations under 3-person quorum, then the Teleconference Meetings should be made Permanent.
Martin said the Council’s legislation does not mandate In-Person Meetings; it allows for a Chapter Meeting to be held In-Person and Remotely via Phone or Social Media.
Sonlatsa Jim-Martin, DCD Administrative Services Center Department Manager. Email: sjim-martin@nndcd.org

It is now 12:11 am, 1.7.21, and the Navajo Council is debating Amendment One to Legislation 0268-21. The amendment is to pg 12, line 6 & 7, section 9, is to change the expiration date of 0268-21 to “When the state of emergency by the Navajo emergency management commission is lifted.”

It is now 12:22 am, 1.7.22, and Navajo Council Delegate Charlaine Tso makes a modification to Amendment One by including Navajo Nation Emergency Declaration and other health emergency declarations.

it is now 12:38 p.m., 1.7.22, and Navajo Council Delegate Mark Freeland is asking for an Update on COVID-19 & the Omicron from Navajo Nation Division of Health Director Jill Jim.
Freeland says that a jump in positive COVID-19 from 15 one day and the next day to 294 shows that the Navajo Nation is losing against the pandemic.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez announced the first Omicron case on the reservation in a 1.4.22 press release from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President.
The Navajo Epidemiology Center, under the Navajo Department of Health, has confirmed the first known case of the Omicron variant from a sample collected from mid-December 2021 from the Utah Navajo Health System. Additional information will be forthcoming as more is learned.
“The first known case of the Omicron variant has been found here on the Navajo Nation. This is not a time to panic, but we must step up our efforts to take the necessary precautions to limit the spread of this new variant in our communities. Health officials recommend wearing two masks in public due to how quickly the Omicron variant has spread in other parts of the world. In many parts of the country, more and more health care workers are having to isolate due to the spread of the Omicron variant. This is creating many challenges for hospital facilities, which also impacts hospitals on the Navajo Nation. Our best defense against the Omicron variant is to get fully vaccinated and get a booster shot. Please be very cautious in public, get vaccinated, and isolate if you are experiencing symptoms that are similar to those related to COVID-19,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

It is now 12:48 pm, 1.7.22, and the Council calls on Navajo Health Dept Director Jill Jim to give them an Update on the Pandemic.
But Jim starts talking about which portion of Legislation 0268-21, instead of giving the Council an UPDATE. She says she wants to keep language for FEMA reimbursements, etc.
Jim finally starts takling about COVID-19, Delta Variant and Omicron and how it is a variant of COVID-19. The Emergency Declaration regarding Pandemic will remain in place.
She says that the hospital are not overcrowded, and the health command center is developing policies for schools. It’s difficult to Trace the Omicron. She said that their system was a “bit behind” and so they learned about Omicron Monday, even though it was detected by the Utah Navajo Health System in Mid-December.
“I don’t know what will happen in six months,” Jim says. “Telling people to prepare to stay home, enough wood, care of animals, not expose children. Omicron will have mild effect for vaccinated. Unvaccianted will have different experience.”
She says they have been going over what to do and they know about impacts to mental health such as trauma.
Jim says there are communities that remain as ‘Uncontrolled” with COVID-19, Delta Variant, Omicron. She says the following communities that are listed as Uncontrolled are:
Bird Springs
Black Mesa
Bread Springs
Casamero Lake
Indian Wells
Low Mountain
Many Farms
Mexican Springs
Rock Point
Rock Springs
Smith Lake
St. Michaels
Tachee/Blue Gap
Tuba City
Twin Lakes
Two Grey Hills
Upper Fruitland
White Cone

It is now 1:10 pm, 1.7.22, and Health, Education & Human Services Committee Chairman Carl Slater says Legislation 0268-21 removes Navajo Division of Community Development and Navajo Dept if Justice from reviewing Proposed Agendas of Chapters, but DCD Administrative Service Centers should assist with Reviewing Proposed Chapter Agenda, but not Deleting Proposed Agenda Items. Slater says communication between the DCD Administrative Service Centers and the chapters is must.

It is now 1:27 pm, 1.7.21, and Navajo Health Dept Director Jill Jim reports to the Navajo Council on the Status of Test Kits for COVID-19, Delta Variant, Omicron.
Jim reports that on home test kits, there was not enough provided by federal govt. and health kits require insurance reimbursements. She added that the supply chain is not visible to us.
Jim reports that the Navajo Nation received two shipments of Test Kits. In novmeber, Arizona provided about Test Kits and they were distributed to tribal employees. She said the seond shipment of 2,000 was given to “divisions and work force.”
She said she spoke with Indian Health Services and they received Test Kits from IHS supply center, which were distributed to “some family members and close contacts.”
Jim also verbally reported on the Status of Test Kits on the Navajo Nation” by saying “that is where our supply chain is. there is not enough supply kits.”
She said she’ll be working with Federal Emergency Management Agency to get Test Kits and she also talk with arizona about IHS hospitals to distribute Test Kits.
Jim recommended that Test Kits can be purchased in cities, and sometimes at gas stations, walgreens, etc. “we’ll make effort to purchase test kits. we are competing for test kits and how to interpret test results. we will also work with state on not reporting test results, only if positive.”
She added, “the more test kits availale will cause more work for state health dept and why our (pandemic) numbers lag behind. and this pandemic will do that.”
Jim said she believe we are at the beginning of another surge and she hopes people just get mildly sick.
She noted that the Navajo Nation continues to only one omicron case. and samples not accepted for tracing. there is no update number of omicron. you can go to navajo health command center. “we know here and highly transmitable,” Jim says.

It is now 1:54 pm, 1.7.22, and Navajo Health Dept Director Jill Jim answers questions about certified and non-certified chapters. Jim refers to Council resolution for Division of Community Development to review chapter agendas and publicize the agenda. When items added, community development will review.
Council Delegate Eugene Tso, who represents Chinle, said the approval of a quorum by three has resulted in chapter meeting agendas being changed with resolutions that benefit the three.
Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown questioned why community development was reviewing the meeting agendas of certified chapters.
Navajo Justice Dept reminded Council that they passed resolution allowing three-person quorum with only three topics. Western Navajo had solar, eastern has san juan county elections, agreements between state and chapters, etc. And there was discussion of a Safety Measure to Prevent Abuse of Three-Person Quorum under Emergency
Navajo Justice Dept reports to Council that the justice dept issued a May 26 memo on how Legislation 0268-21 would work, such as How to give approval to chapters for additional chapter agenda topics that are not COVID related with the continuation of three-person quorum, instead of 25-person quorum. At the time of pandemic, the three-person quorum for chapter meetings was approved by council. Expired Sunday night, for three-person quorum. And this amendment removes community development and chapters only have to consult with community development and receive guidance. it does not give community development power to disapprove chapter agenda item. and chapters can now act on other topics other than the three topics related to COVID.
The justice dept reported that 50 of the 110 chapters have reduced chapter meeting quorums from the quorum of 25 individuals, and about 30 of the 50 chapters have quorums reduced to 15.

It is now 2:22 pm, 1.7.22, and Law and Order Committee Chairwoman Eugenai Charles-Newton says that Legislation 0268-21 is Council creating a sysstem for three people to make decision for an entire community. What if community disagrees. It’s not giving power to community. How many elders have one-tap dial in? Elders want to return to chapter meetings. There are hundreds of people at the Shiprock Flea Market so why not open the chapters.
“I feel like we are giving all the power to the three chapter officials and that doesn’t sit well with me,” Charles-Newton informs the Council.

It is now 2:40 pm, the Council voted 18 in Favor, 5 Opposed on CEASING DEBATE on Legislation 0268-21.
The Unofficial Voting Talley is:
Elmer Begay Red; Kee Allen Begay Jr. Red; Paul Begay Green; Nathaniel Brown Green; Eugenia Charles-Newton Red; Amber Kanazbah Crotty Red; Herman M. Daniels Jr. Green; Mark Freeland Green; Pernell Halona Green; Jamie Henio Green; Vince James Green; Rickie Nez Green; Carl Slater Red; Raymond Smith Jr. Green; Wilson Stewart Jr. Green; Otto Tso Green; Charlaine Tso Green; Daniel Tso Green; Eugene Tso Green; Thomas Walker Jr. Green; Edison Wauneka Green; Edmund Yazzie Green; Jimmy Yellowhair Green.

It is now 2:50 pm, 1.7.22, and the Council votes 22 in favor, 1 opposed on Legislation 0268-21.
The Unofficial Voting Talley is:
Elmer Begay Green; Kee Allen Begay Jr. Green; Paul Begay Green; Nathaniel Brown Green; Eugenia Charles-Newton Red; Amber Kanazbah Crotty Green; Herman M. Daniels Jr. Green; Mark Freeland Green; Pernell Halona Green; Jamie Henio Green; Vince James Green; Rickie Nez Green; Carl Slater Green; Raymond Smith Jr. Green; Wilson Stewart Jr. Green; Otto Tso Green; Charlaine Tso Green; Daniel Tso Green; Eugene Tso Green; Thomas Walker Jr. Green; Edison Wauneka Green; Edmund Yazzie Green; Jimmy Yellowhair Green.

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