With the 2016 Hun-Kah Session underway, the Fourth Osage Nation Congress will consider several pieces of legislative bills.
As of Day One of the 24-day session, here is a partial list of items filed and up for Congressional consideration:
- ONCA 16-26: An appropriation bill (sponsored by Congresswoman Shannon Edwards) requesting $16 million to fund the Nation’s direct services for Osages, which includes the health benefit card, higher education scholarships, burial assistance and regional gathering fund programs.
According to the bill, the breakdown in requested tribal funds include: $7 million for the health benefit card; $8.5 million for the higher education scholarship program for the 2016-2017 school year; $500,000 for the burial assistance program; and $50,000 for the regional assistance gathering fund, which funds organized public meetings available to all Osages, which includes the out-of-state Osage associations in California, Texas, etc.
- ONCA 16-27: A bill (Edwards) establishing a fund for home loan and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers who are Osage. According to the bill, if passed, the Nation’s housing officials will administer this program and the bill requests an initial appropriation of $200,000 for the fund.
- ONCA 16-28: An appropriation bill (Edwards) requesting $5 million for the Nation’s capital asset and improvement fund for proposed projects in Hominy, which include $4.5 million to fund or supplement projects including building a new Wellness Center; maintaining the Community Building; refurbishing the Hominy village roundhouse, and other projects in the Hominy geographic area.
- ONCA 16-30: An act to amend the Nation’s open meetings law (Edwards) to require executive sessions to be recorded by the public body, boards, commissions and made accessible to elected officials on a limited basis.
- ONCA 16-31: An appropriation bill (Congressman RJ Walker) to establish a revolving fund for defense and preservation of natural resources and to request an initial appropriation of $100,000 for the fund. According to the bill, the Executive Branch would be authorized to approve expenditures up to $10,000 per fiscal year and those expenditures higher than $10,000 shall be appropriated by Congress.
- ONCA 16-32: An appropriation bill (Speaker Maria Whitehorn) to establish a revolving economic development fund and requests an initial appropriation of $10 million for the fund. According to the bill, the fund shall also consist of other donations and revenue received through other legal sources and expenditures out of this fund shall be strictly limited to those authorized by Congressional appropriations.
- ONCA 16-33: A bill (Edwards) authorizing scholarship levels for the higher education scholarships starting with the 2016-2017 school year. If passed, the following maximum annual amounts for scholarships are as follows: $4,200 for students attending associate (two-year) institutions; $8,000 for baccalaureate universities; $8,700 for research universities; and $8,000 for professional/ graduate students.
ONCA 16-34: An appropriation bill (Congresswoman Angela Pratt) to authorize $250,000 for the Nation’s Wildland Department for equipment and start-up costs of a firefighting crew.
ONCA 16-35: A bill (Edwards) to amend the Nation’s Pay for Performance Act (merit-based employment system) to restructure the employee pay system.
ONCA 16-36: An appropriation bill (Edwards) requesting $75,000 for a grant donation to the city of Barnsdall for municipal water treatment, equipment and installation.
ONCA 16-37: An act (Edwards) to amend the health benefit act to set the minimum age to 65-over for Osage elders who receive the minimum benefit of $1,000 in the health benefit card program for the calendar year.