Gallup — A proposal to enact an additional 2 percent sales tax on junk food purchased on the Navajo Nation could be decided by the Navajo Nation Council this week.
That legislation is one of the items listed on the proposed agenda for the council's winter session, which starts today at 10 a.m. in the council chamber in Window Rock.
Junk food includes sweetened beverages and prepackaged and non-packaged snacks low in nutrients and high in salt, fat and sugar, according to the legislation.
Revenue generated from the tax will be earmarked for organizing fitness activities and building wellness centers and community recreational areas in the chapters.
Proponents say the bill would help curb health problems — like diabetes — affecting tribal members but opponents say the tax is another burden to the consumer's pocketbook and could result in individuals purchasing junk food off the reservation.
Another bill would promote healthy eating by proposing to eliminate the 5 percent sales tax on fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, water, nuts, seeds and nut butters.
In other proposed legislation, Delegate Leonard Tsosie is sponsoring a bill to override Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly's veto of the Navajo Nation Housing Authority Reform Act.
In October, the council passed amendments to change the appointment, terms, powers and removal process for the authority's board of directors but Shelly vetoed the changes saying they were confusing, unclear and uncertain.
A two-thirds vote of the full council is needed to override the presidential veto.
Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd is sponsoring a bill to remove Speaker Johnny Naize from his position as leader of the council and the bill to appoint a replacement if Naize is removed.
Those two bills could be the first items considered by the council on Monday.
Other pieces of legislation that Shepherd is sponsoring would amend the tribe's election code and would authorize the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors to set the time for opening and closing polling sites during special elections.
Another bill would approve using $288,000 from the tribe's "Land Acquisition Trust Fund" to purchase 640 acres of private property in Cibola County.
This legislation received a "do pass" recommendation from the Resources and Development Committee which oversees such proposals.
Delegate Jonathan Hale is sponsoring legislation to approve the priority list for chapter infrastructure and development projects for fiscal years 2013 through 2018.
Other pieces of legislation would confirm Bessie L. Tsosie to the Commission of Navajo Government Development as well as reinstating tribal membership for four individuals.
Shelly will also give his state of the nation address to the council on Monday.
The five-page proposed agenda was released Friday and is not final until adopted by a majority vote of the council.