FARMINGTON — A day after Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly vetoed legislation to amend the Navajo Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, a bill to override the veto was posted on the website for the Navajo Nation Council.
Shelly vetoed the Navajo Nation Housing Authority Reform Act on Wednesday because the amendments were confusing, unclear and uncertain, according to a memorandum from the president to Speaker Johnny Naize and delegates.
The council passed the amendments during the fall session last month. The amendments would change the appointment, terms, powers and removal process for the board.
On Thursday, legislation to override the president's veto was posted on the council's website for the five-day public comment period.
The override measure is being sponsored by Leonard Tsosie, who also sponsored the board amendments. So far, it has more than 10 cosponsors.
The legislation would be available for committee action beginning Wednesday and was assigned to the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee, which meets Nov. 21, and then to the council, where final authority rests.
Under Navajo law, the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee can invite the president to discuss the reasons for the veto, and, upon consensus with the president, a new resolution may be drafted.
Tribal law mandates that the override be done before the council's next regular session, which is in January.
In a press release issued Thursday, Navajo Housing Authority stated its support of Shelly's veto because it represents a shared concern by the president and the housing entity to protect the membership and powers of the board.
"Given that the proposed legislation would have granted too much power to the Navajo Nation Council -- powers that the council could use to remove all current NHA board members and appoint all new board members to the NHA board -- this move would deprive NHA of any stability and continuity," said NHA government and public relations director Roberta Roberts.
Besides the veto, Shelly signed three bills into law.
The first bill sets up the first step in addressing the critical need for a 911 emergency response system on the Navajo Nation.
Right now, emergency calls are received on tribal police district administrative telephone lines or are answered by county 911 systems.
The Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission would implement and manage the 911 system.
Shelly also approved reducing the fees for petition committees to conduct an initiative election as a special election.
The fees would be reduced from $500 to $200 for a chapter initiative and from $2,500 to $1,000 for a nationwide initiative.
"This is our first step to ensure an accountable and responsible Navajo government," Shelly wrote.
He also urged the council to consider additional measures that call for reforming the tribal government.
The president also approved enacting the Navajo Nation General Leasing Act of 2013, which streamlines the process for land leases on the reservation, with the exception of mineral leases.