Government

Third ON Congress meets for 2013 Tzi-Zho Session starting Sept. 3

The Third Osage Nation Congress will convene for its Tzi-Zho Session Sept. 3 to consider various pieces of legislation, the government’s 2014 fiscal year budgets and other matters brought to the legislative branch’s attention.

This will be the second of two regular 24-day sessions held this year with the fall session priority usually focused on the proposed ON governmental budgets. The 2013 fiscal year ends Sept. 30 with the FY14 calendar year starting the next day.

With session starting on Sept. 3, the regular session end date is also Sept. 30, but legislators have the option to extend session up to three additional days with the written approval of two-thirds of the Congress, according to the Osage Constitution.

During the Hun-Kah Session, the Congressional Appropriations Committee voted to accept the FY 2014’s projected revenue set at $44,725,905 during an April 22 meeting. The projected revenue includes the projected $40 million coming from gaming and revenues from the Tax Commission, treasury interest revenue and uncommitted funds.

The projected revenue amount is crucial because the annual governmental budgets cannot exceed that figure, according to the Osage Constitution.

In addition to the annual budget bills, here are some of the Congressional bills filed in August for consideration during the Tzi-Zho Session.

- ONCA 13-65 (sponsored by Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead) – An act authorizing the ON Supreme Court Chief Justice to temporarily fill judicial vacancies.

- ONCA 13-62 (Maria Whitehorn) – An act to require all compacts, contracts and proposed regulations with the State of Oklahoma or the United States of America to be affirmed by resolution of the Osage Nation Congress.

- ONCA 13-68 (Geoffrey Standing Bear) – An act to appropriate $70,000 to the ON Home Health Board for emergency cash flow.

- ONCA 13-66 (William “Kugee” Supernaw) – An act to appropriate the sum of $500,000 to the Restricted Real Property Re-purchase Fund.

- ONCA 13-73 (Shannon Edwards) -  An act to increase the burial assistance benefit to $5,000 per death.

- ONCA 13-72 (RJ Walker) – An act to provide for a fair and sustainable method of supplemental funding for emergency services within the Osage Nation boundaries.

- ONCA 13-78 (Daniel Boone) – An act to appropriate $350,000 to Osage Nation Enterprises Inc. for hydroponic cultivation of fish and vegetables.

- ONCA 13-79 (John Maker) – An act to provide an appropriation to the Tribal Development and Land Acquisition Department for the architectural design, planning and construction of a new wellness center in Hominy.

Congressman John Jech, currently the chairman of the Congressional Governmental Operations Committee, is sponsor of the governmental branch, office and division bills for the three branches and other entities.

- ONCA 13-82 (Edwards) – An act to authorize and appropriate $7.8 million to the Nation’s higher education scholarship fund.

- ONCA 13-76 (Edwards) – An act to authorize and appropriate $5 million to the health benefit plan fund.

- ONCA 13-70 (Buffalohead) – An act to require Congress members to sit on a minimum of two legislative committees and to place a penalty on violations on the proposed law.

- ONCA 13-69 (Buffalohead) – An act to amend the Nation’s ethics law to require Congress members to recuse from a confirmation vote when a relative is appointed to specific ON entities.

Congress members will meet in their respective committee meetings as needed throughout the Tzi-Zho Session to initially review and take action on the budgets, bills and resolutions before they face a final floor vote of the entire Congress.

For more information on the Tzi-Zho Session or legislative items being considered, visit the Congressional website at www.osagetribe.com/congress