The Third Osage Nation Congress will meet for its second special session Aug. 16 at the Congressional Chambers in Pawhuska.
Principal Chief John Red Eagle issued an executive proclamation for the special session July 30 and an amended proclamation Aug. 7 with a total of eight business items for the Legislative Branch’s consideration. Special Congressional sessions may be called by either the Chief or with the written consent of two-thirds of the Congressional body.
According to the proclamation, the Congress will consider several appropriation bills including a reappropriation of a $75,000 donation to the Skiatook Community Health Clinic project.
The Second ON Congress voted to appropriate the $75,000 last summer as a matching fund contingent on the clinic project getting a federal grant. The money was not donated because the health board in charge of the clinic project did not receive its federal grant award until after the 2012 fiscal year had started.
The Skiatook Community Health Clinic is being built in the former junior high school on Osage Drive. The Town of Skiatook owns the property and the health board overseeing the project sought grant money to renovate the school for the clinic.
Chris White, executive director of Governmental Affairs for Red Eagle’s office, said the clinic would benefit area residents, Osage and non-Osage. “Skiatook has a significant Osage population. Plus, it is a reservation community and the Chief and Congress felt the need to assist with this effort to improve the overall quality of health services across the reservation,” he said.
According to White, the Skiatook area has about 500 residents who are Osage. He said the clinic’s location is convenient for those residents who are not able to make the drive to the Indian Health Service clinic in Pawhuska and other healthcare facilities in Tulsa, Bartlesville or other cities.
J.D. Prather, a Town of Skiatook Trustee, sits on the health board and said the clinic project has been awarded a $99,600 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is awaiting the award letter which must be presented to the ON Congress.
Prather said the clinic will be open to anyone regardless of where they live and the clinic is expected to have doctors experienced in several health fields such as psychology and prenatal care. He said the project is ongoing with an architect scheduled to visit the site Aug. 9 to discuss renovations. Renovations include converting former classrooms into exam rooms, updating the sewer and water infrastructure, and making the building handicapped accessible.
Other items for Congressional consideration
Also listed on the proclamation, the Congress will consider appropriating $6,941 to the revitalized Osage Nation Enterprise Inc. board. Board appointees Charles Hessert, Randy Standridge and Jill Jones are subject to ON Congressional confirmation during the Tzi-Zho Session starting next month. White said the appropriation request is for the three-member board budget for the remainder of the 2012 fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
The Congress will also consider appropriation items for tribal departments including Constituent Services, Tribal Development and Land Acquisition, and a FY 2012 child care development fund appropriation.
White said the bills for Constituent Services and Child Care Development departments concern federal funding grants awarded to those programs and any changes in spending the funding are subject to Congressional approval.
Also listed on the proclamation is a $500,000 supplemental appropriation for the ON employee health insurance costs. White said the appropriation request is due to an increase in health insurance claims by employees.
The Congress will consider legislation regarding a $27.1 million loan being sought to pay for the Osage Casino projects at Ponca City and Skiatook. Last year the Second ON Congress authorized the Gaming Enterprise Board to borrow the $27.1 million from a banking institution, but the loan requires a waiver of sovereign immunity approved by Congress.
A resolution to approve the sovereign immunity waiver (ONCR 12-18 sponsored by Congresswoman Shannon Edwards) will be up for consideration during special session. An amendment to the Nation’s competitive bidding act is also listed as a consideration item during this special session.