As the newly elected Speaker of Congress, Raymond Red Corn said a “feeling of responsibility” comes with the new post of presiding over the forthcoming Congressional sessions.
“That responsibility includes effective communication with the Executive Branch, the public and the members of Congress and without effective communication, it is very difficult to get things done,” he said.
In addition to picking a new leader, the Third Osage Nation Congress is also taking on more planning duties to improve the Legislative Branch where needed. Planning meetings are scheduled Aug. 21-22 with the Congressional Affairs and Rules and Ethics committees meeting to consider ideas for changes.
Red Corn said he sees the planning sessions as a road map to plan the regular sessions. The Tzi-Zho Session starts Sept. 4 and that is when the Congress will consider scores of governmental budgets for the 2013 fiscal year in addition to non-budget legislation.
“The planning process will include legislative planning for the fall and spring sessions,” said Red Corn, “We are going to try and prioritize the legislation and special projects so that the Speaker will have a priority list to work from.”
When the Tzi-Zho Session starts, the Constitution requires budget bills have priority and “the planning process will help identify what we do after the appropriation bills are processed,” Red Corn said.
According to the Congressional office, the Congress will consider 110 governmental budgets from various tribal departments operating on tribal funds or federal funds awarded for specific purposes or programs. The Congress also has eight indirect cost budgets for the departments handling daily government operations for the departments, including human resources, information technology, strategic planning and the Treasury and accounting department.
Red Corn said the FY 2013 budgets arrived by the July deadline set by Congress so the Legislative Branch can verify the information and prepare the appropriation bills for Congressional consideration.
It’s unknown when the Congress will pass the FY 2013 budgets. In recent years the Congress has passed budgets close to the Sept. 30 deadline, but Red Corn notes: “Having the budgets here on time makes the process easier.”
“I believe the goal should be a steady and deliberate consideration of the appropriation bills with an emphasis on early review to avoid a ‘hurry up!’ process,” Red Corn said.
Elected in 2006 to the First ON Congress, Red Corn has sat on various Congressional committees and served as Second Speaker from 2010 until this July when he was elected Speaker by a majority Congressional vote. He is the fourth Congressional Speaker to preside over the legislative sessions since the reformed government launched in 2006. Before him were Archie Mason, Faren Revard Anderson and Jerri Jean Branstetter.
Red Corn, Pawhuska District, was elected to a second four-year term in the 2010 election. During his Congressional tenure, Red Corn has sponsored bills including: The Osage Limited Liability Company Act; The “Speak What’s on Your Mind Act”; The ON Election Code; and the Open Records Act.
Newly elected Second Speaker Daniel Boone also notices a change in the legislative branch with the start focused on planning.
“It’s nice to see a rebirth of our Congress,” he said. “We had no planning sessions during Second Congress, hopefully this will allow us to work better and be more efficient.”
Red Corn said improvement of the Legislative Branch should be an ongoing occurrence.
“The continued improvement of the Osage Nation Congress is exactly what we should expect. As a brand new body in 2006, we experienced a very steep learning curve. I believe we’ve improved through experience by better understanding our roles as legislators,” he said.
Boone said he believes Red Corn will be an effective Speaker and praised his goal on better communication with the Executive Branch.
“Hopefully we’ll all be up to speed on what the Chief is planning and what his expectations are … In the end the constituents will benefit.”