Government

Seventh ON Congress to meet in special session starting Aug. 5

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, the Seventh Osage Nation Congress will convene for its second special session starting at 10 a.m.

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear issued a July 21 executive proclamation calling for the special session. According to the proclamation, there are eight subject items that will be discussed and considered for Congressional action. Those items are:

- To consider amendments to Osage law to change the classification of the Wah-Zha-Zhe Health Clinic third-party billing revenues. The Nation’s Indian Health Service clinic in Pawhuska bills patients’ health insurance carriers for clinical services and pharmacy medications.

- To consider amendments to the Nation’s Higher Education Scholarship Fund Act. Each year, the Nation funds scholarships for enrolled Osages at post-secondary education institutions. Also each year, the Congress considers and passes an appropriation to the Nation’s revolving higher education scholarship fund to pay approved scholarship amounts to students with approved applications.

For the current 2020 fiscal year, the Sixth ON Congress approved an $8.5 million appropriation for the higher education scholarship fund.

- To consider modifying ONCR 19-19 to allow limited negotiations to protect Osage gaming. In September 2019, the Sixth ON Congress passed ONCR 19-19 (sponsored by Congressman Eli Potts), which is a resolution “to reject Gov. (Kevin) Stitt’s claim that the Gaming Compact between the Osage Nation and the State of Oklahoma must be renegotiated.”  

The Osage Congress passed the resolution in wake of the continuing disagreement with Stitt regarding the status of the ON gaming compact as he announced plans to renegotiate compacts with Oklahoma tribal nations. Nearly one year later, the dispute continues as Stitt and nine tribal nations have pending litigation in the Western District of Oklahoma federal court over the status of the current model state-tribal gaming compact used by more than 30 tribes, including Osage.

- To consider amendments to the Boards and Commissions Act.

- To consider amendments to the Osage Nation Limited Liabilities Company Act.

- To consider a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for the drug court contract between the State of Oklahoma and the Osage Nation. The Constitution states the Nation’s instrumentalities shall be immune from suit or process in any forum “except to the extent that the (ON) Congress expressly waives its sovereign immunity.”

Previously, the Congress has approved waivers of sovereign immunity in service contracts with outside businesses/ entities including a Missouri company for pharmaceutical billing at the WHC; with PayCom for ON government employee payroll services and also with the state for drug court in prior fiscal years.

According to the Osage Constitution, a special session may be called by the Principal Chief (executive proclamation) or by a legislative proclamation with a written request by two-thirds of Congress members.

Special sessions may last up to 10 days and may be extended up to three additional days at the written request of two-thirds of Congress members.

For more Congressional information and to view filed legislative bills/ resolutions, visit the Legislative Branch website at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch