GALLUP — By the time the weeklong spring session of the Navajo Nation Council concludes, attorney Levon B. Henry could be appointed the new chief legislative counsel.
Legislation containing Henry's appointment is among the bills listed on the proposed agenda for the spring session, which starts 10 a.m. on Monday in the council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz.
Henry, the former executive director of DNA People's Legal Services, was selected to become the council's top lawyer. The position has been vacant since January 2011, when the Navajo Nation Supreme Court permanently disbarred Frank Seanez, the chief legislative counsel at the time.
Speaker Johnny Naize appointed Henry, who is originally from Naschitti, based on his qualifications and extensive knowledge of the Navajo government.
It is not known whether or not Naize, who has been on paid administrative leave, will attend the spring session or if the bill's co-sponsor, Delegate Roscoe Smith, will present the bill to the council. The council earlier this month placed Naize on paid administrative leave after he was charged in December with bribery and conspiracy for allegedly misusing discretionary funds.
Smith is the primary sponsor of legislation to allow the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee to serve as the appointing authority for individuals to serve on the Navajo Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
Speaker Pro Tem LoRenzo Bates will preside over the session, which will include the State of the Nation address and reports from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., and Arizona State Sen. Carlyle Begay, D-Ganado.
Bates is sponsoring legislation to amend Navajo Agricultural Products Industry's plan of operation to permit the tribal enterprise to waive sovereign immunity through binding arbitration in its agreements with third parties.
Under the amendment, NAPI would not be required to obtain the approval from the Navajo Nation Department of Justice to enter into such agreements.
Navajo lawmakers will consider approving two pieces of legislation to override a pair of vetoes.
The first would enact an additional 2 percent sales tax on junk food purchased on the reservation and the second would eliminate the 5 percent sales tax on fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, water, nuts, seeds and nut butters.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly vetoed both bills in February because, he said, the tribal government is not prepared to implement and collect taxes on junk food.
An override must be approved by two-thirds vote of the 24-member council, according to Navajo law.
Members of the council will also consider bills to approve the priority list for chapter infrastructure and development projects for fiscal years 2013 through 2018, to approve amendments to the federal charter of incorporation for Navajo Oil and Gas Co. and to amend the plan of operation for the tribe's insurance commission.
Delegate Russell Begaye is sponsoring a bill that would amend the number of terms a person may serve as a delegate and as tribal president.
The current law does not limit the number of terms a delegate may serve.
Meanwhile, the president is limited to two consecutive terms but can sit out a term and run again.
Begaye's bill proposes to restrict delegates to serving four terms, or 16 years, but the terms do not have to be consecutive.
The term limit for the president would be capped at two terms and would not need to be consecutive.
Begaye is also sponsoring legislation to appoint Herman Farley, president of the Red Mesa, Ariz., Chapter, as the Northern Navajo Agency Council representative on the Commission on Navajo Government Development.
Delegate Jonathan Hale is sponsoring two bills that each request the carryover of unspent funding to address the outbreak of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and to address drought conditions on the reservation.
Hale is also sponsoring legislation to approve $200,000 in supplemental funding from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance to maintain the tribe's aging airline fleet and to purchase jet fuel.
There are also three pieces of legislation asking for supplemental funding from the UUFB to help programs and services provided by the three domestic violence shelters located on the reservation.
The Home for Women and Children in Shiprock has asked for $180,000, the Tohdenasshai Committee Against Family Abuse Inc. in Kayenta, Ariz., is requesting $210,000 and the Ama Doo Alchini Bighan Inc. in Chinle, Ariz., wants $80,786.
Another supplemental funding request asks for $288,000 for the Eastern Navajo Land Commission to pay for contractual services to advocate for funding at the federal level for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project.
The proposed agenda was released Thursday and is not final until adopted by a majority vote of the council.