Navajo Nation Council concludes summer session

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — In its summer legislative session, the Navajo Nation Council confirmed three of President Russell Begaye's nominations for division director positions.

On Thursday, the council passed three pieces of legislation containing the appointments of Ethel Billie Branch as attorney general, Jackson Brossy as executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office and Jesse Delmar as executive director of the tribe's Division of Public Safety.

Each nominee appeared before the council and listened to comments and answered questions raised by delegates.

Begaye said in a press release Thursday that he appreciated the council's decision.

"Their education, experience and knowledge in their fields of study will be an asset as we execute the four pillars of our administration," the president said of the three directors.

Also during the session, delegates approved $3 million in supplemental funding from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance for the tribe's 110 chapters to use for the Summer Youth Employment program.

Additionally, the council approved $31,780 in supplemental funding from the UUFB to improve a Bureau of Indian Affairs road in Tsídii To'ii Chapter in Arizona; $200,000 for the Navajo Community Development Financial Institution; and $21,117 for the rural addressing system in Hardrock Chapter in Arizona.

The fund's balance was $4.9 million as of May 31, according to a memorandum from the Office of the Controller.

Also approved was a bill to amend the tribe's election code to permit a sitting president to continue his term in office while an election is pending or a new president has yet to be certified or sworn in.

Lawmakers voted 10-9 to pass legislation that places a tax on alcoholic beverages sold in three of the tribe's casinos. If the president signs the bill into law, the tax revenue would go to fund to benefit the Division of Public Safety and would be administered by the division director.

Delegates also passed legislation to appropriate nearly $375,000 to the Office of Legislative Services and to the legislative district assistants program.

Legislation that called to amend the process for bills assigned to the council and its standing committees, as well as for reducing the comment period for bills posted on the council's website, failed by a vote of 13 in favor and 5 opposed. It needed 16 or more votes to pass on Wednesday.

Delegates did not pass legislation to amend the general provisions concerning tribal property.

Four bills were referred back to the standing committee level for further discussion, and two pieces of legislation were tabled.

The council adjourned the summer session at 12:32 a.m. Friday in the council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.