The Sixth Osage Nation Congress set its committee structure as part of its first orders of business on July 14 during a one-day special session.
After the morning’s inauguration at the Ponca City Osage Casino, the newly sworn-in Congress members ventured to Pawhuska for its first special session in the Osage Nation Capitol Building at 3 p.m. The new Congress members signed a legislative proclamation to call for the special session after the inauguration ceremony ended.
The 12 Congressional members met in caucus for the members to sign up for the various Congressional select and standing committees, which typically meet to initially consider legislative items and budgets. The Congress voted unanimously to set the committee list, which will stand until the 2019 Hun-Kah Session ends.
The select and standing committees also briefly met that day to select the respective committee officers and those newly formed select committees are:
- The Congressional Affairs Committee is chaired by the Second Speaker, according to the ON Congressional rules, who is Congressman Joe Tillman with Congressman RJ Walker serving as Speaker following an election by the 12 Congress members earlier in the session. With Tillman as chairman, the other Congressional Affairs Committee members are Angela Pratt (vice chair), Scott BigHorse, Archie Mason and Eli Potts.
- The Appropriations Committee is comprised of one member elected by each of the Congressional standing committees, per Congressional rules. This committee’s duties include monitoring all appropriation legislation filed in Congress, review financial reports by the ON Treasurer and business enterprises and issue reports regularly on the fiscal status of the Nation to the Congress. Appropriation Committee members are Maria Whitehorn (chair), Eli Potts (vice chair), Paula Stabler, BigHorse, Shannon Edwards and Alice Goodfox.
- The Membership Committee duties include ensuring the ON membership roll is properly maintained by the Membership Office and to recommend rules and regulations to the Congress as necessary to regulate membership and a correct roll of enrolled Osages. Membership Committee members are Potts (chair), Edwards and Brandy Lemon.
- The Rules, Ethics and Engrossment Committee duties include researching and proposing amendments and additions to the Congressional rules, engrossing all bills referred by the Speaker before a final vote of the Congress and to ensure legislative compliance with Article X of the ON Constitution (Code of Ethics) and any ethics rules of the Congress and Osage law. Rules, Ethics and Engrossment Committee members are Pratt (chair), Goodfox and Stabler.
Per Congressional rules, Congressional standing committees’ subject matter jurisdiction extends to all matters reasonably comprehended in the name of the committee. A committee’s particular jurisdiction extends to any bill, resolution, confirmation (of individuals appointed for ON boards or officer positions) or other measure referred to it by the Congress including budgets. The new standing committees are:
- Commerce, Gaming, and Land: Whitehorn (chair), Tillman (vice chair), Stabler (Appropriations representative), Goodfox, Lemon, and Pratt.
- Education: John Maker (chair), Potts (vice chair), Edwards (Appropriations), BigHorse, Goodfox and Archie Mason.
- Culture: Pratt (chair), Maker (vice chair), BigHorse (Appropriations), Mason and Stabler.
- Governmental Operations: Edwards (chair), BigHorse (vice chair), Potts (Appropriations), Maker, Pratt, and Whitehorn.
- Health and Social Services: Mason (chair), Stabler (vice chair), Goodfox (Appropriations), Lemon, Tillman, and Walker.