When Osages return to the Election Day poll in June 2024, there will be at least one Constitutional amendment question on the ballot asking voters whether to allow appointees to be confirmed by the Legislative Branch during special sessions.
The Eighth ON Congress approved resolution ONCR 23-07 (sponsored by Congressman Joe Tillman) during the 2023 Hun-Kah Session “to provide for an election to amend Article VII, Section 15 of the Constitution of the Osage Nation to allow appointments to be confirmed in special session.”
Currently, the Congress can only conduct confirmation votes on appointees during the two regular (Hun-Kah and Tzi-Sho) sessions mandated in the 2006 Constitution. Appointments made during the interim, must wait for confirmation at the next regular session, which has raised concerns by Congress members on the wait period that could last months before a vote and in the meantime, appointees are serving as interim officials.
Appointees who are subject to confirmation votes include board and commission members, as well as the Nation’s Treasurer and Attorney General posts, according to Osage law.
Before the April 19 vote, Tillman addressed his colleagues on the proposed Constitutional amendment question. “I think a lot of us have been here long enough to be put in that awkward situation, for example, after our session is adjourned, if there was an appointee made next week or the week after, we aren’t allowed to confirm those appointees until the next regular session six months down the road. What this does is allows us to confirm those appointees in special session called by executive or called by us,” he said.
For the 24-day session, both Tillman and Congressional Speaker Alice Goodfox filed similar resolutions seeking a ballot question to allow appointees to be confirmed in special sessions. Goodfox originally sponsored ONCR 23-07, but withdrew as sponsor and Tillman signed on as sponsor. Tillman withdrew the similar resolution he initially sponsored and ONCR 23-07 went on for the vote consideration with Goodfox co-sponsoring.
Also, at a Congressional Government Operations Committee meeting held during the Hun-Kah Session, Goodfox spoke to the proposed ballot question seeking to change the confirmation time to include special sessions.
“We’ve had several scenarios over the course of these years our reformed government has been in existence,” Goodfox said. “We’ve had board members resign, we’ve had board members go from one board to another board, we’ve had board members that have passed away and leaving six months in there is a long time to conduct business without them being vetted – if they’re a new member – by the Congress.”
“This constitutional amendment would be a ballot question for the people in June of next year and would need 65% of the vote to pass and (amend the Constitution) and it would allow us to confirm in special sessions,” Goodfox said.
“I think it’s important to us, I think the framers of our Constitution intended for us to continue to develop it more,” Tillman said in closing before the vote.
Goodfox said the resolution requires 10 “yes” votes to pass as she asked for a roll call vote. All 12 Congress members present voted for ONCR 23-07.