Diné Citizens and Members of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council:

As Speaker Pro Tem of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council, I feel that it is imperative to provide an update to the Navajo people and to my fellow Council colleagues regarding ongoing circumstances with the Navajo Nation Legislative Branch.

First and foremost, I want to make it very clear to Diné Citizens throughout our Nation that the legislative branch, Council, and its standing committees continue to function at an effective level. There has been no standstill to the administrative functions or legislative processes.

This continuity is evident by Thursday's Naabik'iyátí' Committee meeting in which 15 delegates took quick and efficient action to address several key legislations that may have a profound impact on our Nation and our Diné people.

For example, Naabik'iyátí' Committee members on Thursday approved two legislations seeking to override two separate vetoes. One of which is the "Healthy Diné Nation Act" which seeks to impose a 2 percent sales tax on "junk food" and another which seeks to eliminate the 5 percent sales tax on the purchase of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables sold within the Navajo Nation. Both override attempts will be addressed by the Council.

Issues such as these remain at the forefront of the concerns and actions of this Council and its standing committees and we look forward to addressing these critical issues at the upcoming Spring Council Session.

Over the course of this week, I have met with the interim Chief of Staff, legislative financial advisor, and the Office of the Controller to begin assessing the current financial state of the legislative branch to ensure that the legislative branch has the availability of funds to effectively carry out the administrative functions and services for Diné Citizens.

In closing, I respectfully ask our Diné people and my Council colleagues to remain respectful to all at this time.

 

HONORABLE LORENZO BATES

22nd Navajo Nation Council