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FARMINGTON — A Navajo Nation Council delegate is proposing to reduce the number of years that tribal lawmakers can serve on a standing committee during a term of office.

Navajo law mandates that the speaker assign delegates to serve four years on one of the council's standing committees — the Budget and Finance Committee; the Law and Order Committee; the Health, Education and Human Services Committee; and the Resources and Development Committee.

In addition, each delegate serves on the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee throughout his or her term.

The speaker assigns delegates to serve on the committees. The assignments are subject to confirmation by the council, and the membership consists of at least one delegate from the Central, Eastern, Fort Defiance, Northern and Western agencies, according to tribal law.

Delegate Raymond Smith Jr. is sponsoring a bill that proposes that delegates serve two years on a standing committee.

Smith, who represents Houck, Klagetoh, Nahata Dziil, Tsé Si'éní and Wide Ruins chapters in Arizona, said in a telephone interview today two years is enough time for delegates to address issues, and providing delegates the opportunity to serve on two committees during each term would broaden their experience.

The legislation became eligible for committee action today and was assigned to the five standing committees and to the council, where final authority rests.

Smith, who serves as vice chairman for the Law and Order Committee, said it is possible the bill could go before delegates when the fall session convenes this month in Window Rock, Ariz.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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