Government

ON Congress to meet for 2019 Hun-Kah Session starting March 25

The Sixth Osage Nation Congress will meet for its first Hun-Kah Session starting March 25 in the Capitol Building along Pawhuska’s Main Street.

This is the first 24-day regular spring session for the 12-member Congress since the June 2018 election. Per the 2006 Osage Constitution, the Congress “shall convene twice annually in regular session, so that six months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the Congress and its first sitting in the next session.”

During the session, Congress will consider filed legislative bills, resolutions and other matters brought to the Legislative Branch for review and action. The members will also meet in Congressional committee meetings, which will be scheduled as needed throughout the session for initial reviews and consideration of legislation and other matters.

Copies of filed legislative bills and resolutions, as well as Congressional meeting notices and agendas for sessions are posted online to the Legislative Branch website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch

As of the March publication of the Osage News, one bill filed for consideration during the Hun-Kah Session is ONCA 19-06 (sponsored by Congressman Joe Tillman), which is an act “to create the Osage Nation Tax Advisory Board to advise the Executive and Legislative Branches on taxation.”

The proposed board is to comprise three members appointed by the Principal Chief and confirmed by the Congress. According to the bill, the board members shall be qualified in one or more areas including government taxation, tribal taxation or federal taxation and must exemplify attributes of leadership and organizational skills for developing the Nation’s tax system.

According to the bill, the tax advisory board is being considered for establishment to review tax law, policy and regulation, perform research, attend conferences on tribal taxation and provide reports and recommendations for changes in policy and regulation to the Principal Chief and the Director of the Tax Commission, and amendments to the Nation’s tax code to the ON Congress. The board shall also perform additional research as requested by the executive and legislative branches and the board will have no administrative or supervisory functions.

In 2014, the Fourth Osage Nation Congress dissolved the five-member Tax Commission board, which had previously existed for 22 years. The bill ONCA 14-83 (Alice Goodfox), came after Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn proposed the bill to Goodfox after an Office of Fiscal Performance Review audit of the Tax Commission. The audit called into question whether Osage Nation vehicle tags were properly issued. At the time, Standing Bear said his team looked at what boards and commissions were necessary and they found the Tax Commission to be “cost prohibitive.”

During the session and committee meetings held in the Capitol Building, Congressional public meetings (except executive sessions allowed by Osage law) will be live streamed at www.osagenation-nsn.gov/multimedia/live-media

The ON Communications Department will also record the sessions and those recordings will be archived and available for later viewing on the Osage Nation YouTube channel.

Follow the Osage News on Facebook, Twitter or check the newspaper’s website at www.osagenews.org for any updates during the 2019 Hun-Kah Session.