Congress passes six legislative bills in December special session

A bill to appropriate $2 million in ARPA funding was signed into law for a new COVID-compliant Judicial Branch building. Osage News File Photo 

The Seventh Osage Nation Congress passed six bills during its 12th Special Session with several appropriation items for various 2022 fiscal year department budgets.

Bill ONCA 22-18 (sponsored by Congresswoman Alice Goodfox) is a $4.9 million supplemental appropriation to various department budgets including: $36,296 for the Nation-owned Industrial Park at Hominy for rental equipment/ maintenance costs and professional fees.

ONCA 22-18 also includes a $5,000 Osage Casinos donation to Daposka Ahnkodapi thanks to a student parent applying for the money on behalf of the Nation’s school. Superintendent Patrick Martin said the donated money will be used for planning and funding a community handgame at this school year’s graduation, as well as costs to buy T-shirts and hoodies for the students and about $1,000 will go toward indirect costs.

The bill also includes $1.1 million for the Nation’s real property purchase fund and $4 million for the restricted property re-purchase fund.

ONCA 22-19 (sponsored by Second Speaker Jodie Revard) is an act to amend a bill (ONCA 21-97) authorizing ON Indirect Cost (IDC) departments to expend money appropriated through the FY 2022 budgets. This amendment bill authorizes IDC departments Grants and Communications to expend additional money in the amount of $534,586.

According to a fiscal analysis of ONCA 22-19, the Communications budget will increase by $375,000 for travel, operations and professional fees. The Grants budget will increase by $159,585 for salary/ benefits and travel expenses. The IDC money would come from the FY2022 IDC recoveries which was $1.3 million before the bill’s passage.

ONCA 22-20 (Revard) is an appropriation bill authorizing $2.5 million in spending American Rescue Plan Act funding for a Child Care Development program ($2,509,479) and a new ($178,739) Low Income Household Water Assistance Program to be administered by the Nation’s Financial Assistance Department.    

Revard thanked the Executive Branch for “doing their due diligence in reaching out and submitting requests to get additional ARPA funding through supplemental federal monies that are available to tribes.”

ONCA 22-21 (Revard) is a bill to make $2.1 million in supplemental appropriations (non-tribal funding) to several Executive Branch department entities. “This bill contains non-tribal funding and there were (12 funding) awards that came in for different programs and there was one increase to current funding with the WIC program,” Revard said.

ONCA 22-22 (sponsored by Congresswoman Brandy Lemon) is a bill amending ONCA 21-73, which is the Nation’s Executive Branch budget comprising $161.3 million in non-tribal funds for FY 2022. This amendment bill authorizes appropriation modifications and supplemental appropriations totaling $365,419.

ONCA 22-23 (sponsored by Congressman RJ Walker) is a bill amending a prior bill (ONCA 21-109) he sponsored to appropriate $2 million in ARPA funding for costs toward a new Judicial Branch building that is COVID-compliant. This amendment bill seeks “to change the recipient of the $2 million (of ARPA funds) for a new COVID-compliant Judicial Branch building from the Capital Asset Fund to the Executive Branch.”

All six bills went to Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear for his signature after the Congress voted 12-0 on the legislative items on Dec. 15, wrapping the two-day special session.