STATEMENT BY GOVERNOR JAN BREWER

“The leadership and Members of the Arizona State Senate should be commended for their statesmanship today, as they have demonstrated through their actions that they trust the will of the voters.  Their votes today demonstrate the importance of working together for the betterment of all of Arizona. 

“As I noted in my State of the State Address on January 11th, the moments before us are profound and in many ways painful, but I continue to believe these moments are also filled with opportunity – opportunity which needs to be grasped quickly with cooperation and confidence.  I am pleased that significant progress was made today on the state budget at the Legislature on several important and timely items.  The bonding provisions and the sales tax referral to Arizona voters are time sensitive issues that have been thoroughly debated and need to be addressed rapidly to impact the FY’10 and FY’11 budget.  Additional reductions in funding for public safety, education, and health services will be significantly mitigated with a temporary revenue increase approved by the voters. 

“Much budget work remains.  No one from the Legislature or my Administration disputes that additional steps will be necessary to close the FY’10 deficit, as well a substantial restructuring and streamlining of state government to resolve the even larger FY’11 budget deficit.  As I stated beginning in March of 2009 and throughout the summer and fall of last year, delay in enactment of my balanced budget proposals will only result in larger deficits, further debt, and the need for even greater spending reductions beyond the historic reductions I have already proposed and implemented.”

Government Services Committee schedules public hearing Feb. 9 regarding NHA public rental, homeowner’s policies

 It is the goal of the GSC to help improve the quality of life for those living in NHA subdivisions  

 

   

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. —

The Government Services Committee of the 21st Navajo Nation Council announced a public hearing for the Fort Defiance Agency regarding the Public Rental and Homeowner’s Policies and Procedures for Navajo Housing Authority. The hearing is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Dilkon Community School in Dilkon, Ariz.

 

The committee has heard concerns through public testimony from individuals living in and around the NHA subdivisions Navajo Nation-wide. The purpose of the hearing is to address the needs of the tenants.

 

The Governments Services Committee (GSC) has the authority to hear such concerns by the Navajo Nation Council. According to Title 2 § 341, “The Government Services Committee has oversight authority over entities of the Navajo Nation.” Title 2 § 343, also states the committee has authority, “To oversee the conduct and operations of entities.” Navajo Housing Authority is such an entity.
 
From the hearing, the GSC will collect data from public testimony and written statements to address problems with the current NHA policies and procedures. The public is invited to voice their concerns at the hearing regarding NHA’s housing policies, homeownership and rental conditions – written statements are also highly encouraged. The committee also wants to address and hear concerns regarding vandalism and intimidation by possible gangs across the Navajo Nation.

 

It is the goal of the GSC to help improve the quality of life for those living in NHA subdivisions.

Written statements should be addressed to: The Office of Legislative Services, ATTN: GSC Committee, P.O. Box 3390, Window Rock, AZ 86515. For more information, call 928-871-7160 or 928-871-7253. 

Business Site Leasing Committee Meeting Feb 4th at 2 pm Thursday at Kayenta Township Conference Room

Proposed Agenda
Kayenta Business Site Leasing Committee Meeting
February 04, 2010

2:00 pm

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>I. <!–[endif]–>Call Meeting to Order – Roll Call & Invocation Ken Whitehair, Chair

<!–[if !supportLists]–>II. <!–[endif]–>Introductions and Welcome Ken Whitehair, Chair

<!–[if !supportLists]–>III. <!–[endif]–>Review and Adopt Agenda

<!–[if !supportLists]–>IV. <!–[endif]–>Review of Meeting Minutes and Approval -
-Approve Meeting Minutes from January 05, 2010

<!–[if !supportLists]–>V. <!–[endif]–>Old Business – None

<!–[if !supportLists]–>VI. <!–[endif]–>New Business

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1. <!–[endif]–>Resolution: Approving a Business Site Lease Agreement for Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education (NATIVE)

<!–[if !supportLists]–>VII. <!–[endif]–>Other Business

<!–[if !supportLists]–>VIII. <!–[endif]–>Report

<!–[if !supportLists]–>IX. <!–[endif]–>Adjournment

IGR Committee passes legislation urging law enforcement agencies to respect Navajo extradition laws, Treaty of 1868

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the 21st Navajo Nation Council met today during a regular meeting and passed legislation urging the federal government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other federal law enforcement agencies to respect Navajo Nation extradition laws and its Treaty of 1868. 
 
Council Delegate Ernest Yazzie sponsored legislation No. 0044-10 urging federal entities to honor Navajo sovereignty. The FBI, without due process, incarcerates defendants who commit crimes on the Navajo Nation.
 
Navajo Nation Chief Prosecutor Bernadine Martin expressed Yazzie’s concern and explained situations where the FBI violated due process rights and extradition laws of the Navajo Nation.
 
“Historically, in recent history no federal agency has followed the procedure. The federal government badged out defendants who committed crimes on Navajo without informing the Office of the Prosecutor,” Martin explained. “To not inform the Office of Prosecutor, staff cannot follow up on those cases that get declined and could be filed in tribal court. In 2005, more than half of Indian crimes were denied. In one case, the defendant was held in jail for 29 days without being charged. There is an extradition process on the Navajo Nation that needs be honored.”
 
In the recent case of Reehalio Carroll, who is charged for the murder of Sister Marguerite Bartz, Carrol was taken into custody by the FBI while he was held in Navajo jails pursuant to the order issued by Judge Carol Perry. The federal government did not honor the Navajo Nation extradition laws.
 
“I refused to turn Carrol over because he was held on a valid tribal court order. An extradition procedure would have authorized the release to the federal government,” Martin said. “I told the federal judge in the Carrol case that the Navajo Nation is a sovereign government with our own laws and courts of competent jurisdiction.”
 
“Unfortunately, the Navajo Nation Council, President Shirley and the Navajo courts must inform Congress of Navajo sovereignty, particularly with crimes,” she added. “We don’t have problems with the states of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. The states inform us of arrest warrants and provide documents that support our extradition protocol. The relationships with the states have been working.”
 
Yazzie’s legislation proposes defendants who commit crimes on the Navajo Nation are subject to Navajo laws and if a federal offense requires federal action, then federal agencies need to honor the Navajo extradition protocol, not the process where the FBI wants to take defendants when they want to.


“I’m not questioning the jurisdiction of the federal government,” Martin said. “It’s how we get there is what concerns me. I hope that there is some compromise with the federal laws and Navajo laws.”
 
“The Navajo extradition statutes were enacted in January 1956,” Martin added. “In October 1967, the Navajo Chairman ordered that every Navajo accused will be brought before a judge for an extradition hearing and that is codified. In 1994, the solicitor of the Navajo Judicial Branch further clarified the extradition procedure which is how both entities should be operating.” 
 
The IGR committee accepted Yazzie’s legislation with a 7-0 vote.

IGR Committee supports position of Congress, Administration to reauthorize Indian Health Care Improvement Act

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the 21st Navajo Nation Council passed legislation today supporting the position of the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration in reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2009.

 

 

Legislation No. 0052-10, sponsored by Council Delegate Thomas Walker Jr. (Birdsprings/Leupp/Tolani Lake), was passed by the IGR committee with a 9-0 vote.

 

The legislation details urgency for Congress and the Administration to reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2009 in the final national health reform package. The legislation also details the Navajo Nation’s Health and Social Services Committee as the designated body that represents the Navajo position before Congress and the Administration. 

“Reauthorization happens every 10 years. As we all know, the Obama Administration has been appealing to the public on national health care reform and the reform is pending before Congress, Walker said. “Our congressional representatives have recommended the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2009 be permanent law. This legislation is conveying our need for urgency.”

There are two versions of the health care reform bills. One bill is from the House of Representatives and the other from the Senate. Both bills include reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2009, as well as other health care improvements, which will affect the delivery of Indian Health Care to Indian Country. 

 

Some of what is included in the Senate version is reauthorizing all Indian Health Care programs, authorizing programs for long-term care, address and improve youth suicide prevention, authorize a program to help recruit and retain health care professionals, and to require the IHS budget to maintain medical inflation rates and population growth to combat underfunding.  

The House of Representative version includes some of the following: reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, expanding coverage to Indians who are part of State Children’s Health Insurance program; amend the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish the Native American Health and Wellness Foundation and authorizes urban Indian organizations for health information technology and other related infrastructure. 

 

Roselyn Begay, program evaluation manager with the Navajo Division of Health, explained both bills will positively impact Navajo and the rest of Indian country if approved.

Begay said there are Navajo specific provisions in the two bills: a uranium study and Medicaid feasibility study on Navajo.

 

“The uranium study as you know will highlight the adverse impacts of uranium on Navajo,” Begay said. “The Medicaid feasibility study will allow the Navajo Nation to conduct and explore the idea of a 51st Medicaid state. The Navajo Nation has made positive strides with respect to Medicaid.”

 

Begay further expressed the importance of this major legislation and said, “This is strongly advocated by the Nation. We worked closely with the Heath and Social Services Committee on this project and coordinated proper fashion with the oversight committee. We feel very positive and fortunate to have delegates who are interested in health care for the Navajo people.”  

Navajo Council concludes 2010 winter session, approves changes to usage of Diné Fundamental Law

 “The purpose of this legislation is not to change the entire Diné Fundamental Laws, but to prevent the way these laws are currently interpreted, which is against one another.”
– Raymond Joe, Navajo Nation Council delegate

 

 

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. –The 21st Navajo Nation Council concluded its 2010 winter session today by approving the Foundation of the Diné, Diné Law and Diné Government Act of 2009.
 
Legislation No. 0543-09, sponsored by Council Delegate Raymond Joe (Tachee/Blue Gap/Whippoorwill), passed by a vote of 56-17. With the amendment, Diné Fundamental Law will only be used in the Peacemaking Courts of the Navajo Nation Judicial system. The fundamental laws will not apply to cases entertained by the Navajo Nation District and Supreme Courts.
 
“The purpose of this legislation is not to change the entire Diné Fundamental Laws, but to prevent the way these laws are currently interpreted, which is against one another,” Joe said. “We can use the fundamental laws in a proper way with this legislation. The way the law has been interpreted is abusive to our songs and prayers. It’s vital that we don’t abuse these laws.”
 
Most Council delegates favored Joe’s legislation as it specified the peacemaking court as the system to utilize the fundamental laws. The specialization to the peacemaking court eliminates confusion with the statute-driven adversarial system. Essentially, the passage of Joe’s legislation will prevent the manipulation of the fundamental laws in the adversarial system and is a step to help restore a harmonious state among the three branches of our tribal government.  
 
Council Delegate Alice W. Benally (Crownpoint/Nahodishgish) echoed words to confirm Joe’s passage of the legislation.

“These traditional values from the fundamental laws are morals that should guide us to harmony. I am thankful the fundamental laws will apply to the peacemaking division. In peacemaking, people are restored back to harmony,” Benally explained. “In situations where there is no resolution in normal courts, dispute resolution is another option — it does work.”  
 
In other Council action, Legislation No.0559-09, sponsored by Sampson Begay (Jeddito/Steamboat/Low Mountain), confirmed Tom Platero as Division Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Transportation with a 46-2 vote. 

Legislation No. 0573-09, sponsored by Charles Damon (Bahaali/Church Rock), passed 41-4 to reinstate Glynna M. Stump as an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.
 
Legislation No. 0559-09, sponsored by Leslie Dele (Tonalea) and Lena Manheimer (Ts’ah Bii Kin/Navajo Mountain), failed by a vote of 12-43. The legislation would have created the Navajo Nation Solid Waste Fund.

Three items remained on the agenda and were not entertained because of a lack of a quorum. Legislation No. 0765-09, regarding the name change of Standing Rock Chapter to Tse’ ii’ Ahi Chapter; Legislation No. 0758-09, relating to enacting the Navajo Nation Internet Sex Offenses Act of 2009 and Legislation No. 0673-09 pertaining to amending Title 5 of the Navajo Nation Code by Approving Amendments to the Navajo Nation Limited Liability Company Act will most likely reappear on the next regular session agenda as new agenda items. 

Speaker Morgan encourages President Shirley to sign $1 million appropriation for emergency relief

Legislation still sits on Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr.’s desk 

 

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Three days have passed since the Navajo Nation Council appropriated $1 million on Jan. 26 for emergency relief funds to chapters across the Navajo Nation and the legislation still sits on Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr.’s desk being reviewed.

 

Navajo Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan is encouraging President Shirley to sign the legislation to funnel the desperately needed funds for emergency relief efforts across the Nation.

 

“The Council appropriated this money as an emergency and it’s still being reviewed by the President and his office,” Morgan said. “On Jan. 21, the President and the Navajo Nation Commission on Emergency Management declared a state of emergency because of the severe winter weather conditions, but funds are being held up with the delay of the President’s signature. We need to get this money funneled quickly – we need to help our Navajo people suffering from the weather conditions.”

 

The emergency funds are to come from the Nation’s Personnel Lapse Fund. The funds, once approved by the Navajo President, will be used to provide relief to all chapters — specifically for those that have experienced the impact of the latest weather storms.

 

The Emergency Operation Center reported continued search and rescue missions in the Kinlichee and Klagetoh areas today. It was also reported the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Forest Management and the Arizona Incident Management Division 4 team will continue working to locate people who have not been contacted yet and those who are in need of basic supplies.

 

The Navajo Nation Council concluded its 2010 winter session today and left disappointed after being notified of the delay in approving the emergency funds.