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Congress to convene in Special Session starting June 16

The Congress will consider several appropriation items, including increasing the wage for Summer Youth workers to $15 an hour

The Seventh Osage Nation Congress will convene for its 13th Special Session starting June 16 after Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear issued an executive proclamation to consider three items.

According to the written proclamation issued June 1, Standing Bear is calling for the special session, starting at 10 a.m., for the 12-member legislative body to consider three items for possible action.

  • Consider an appropriation bill of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to the Financial Assistance Department for the 2022 Summer Youth and Workforce Development Programs. According to a news release, Standing Bear is requesting the bill to increase the summer youth worker pay rate to $15/hour “to remain consistent with (Nation’s) minimum wage law. Chief has asked Congressman Scott Bighorse to sponsor the bill to appropriate funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).”

If approved, the pay increase for the summer youth workforce will match the recent minimum wage increase for Osage government employees approved by Congress in the 2022 Hun-Kah Session. According to bill ONCA 22-37 (sponsored by Congressman Eli Potts), the $15/hour minimum wage increase for government employees will take effect with the 2023 fiscal year starting Oct. 1.   

  • Consider an appropriation bill to the Nation’s Veteran’s Memorial Fund for its five-member Veteran’s Memorial Commission to travel to Washington, D.C. for the formal dedication National Native American Veterans Memorial which opened in November 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual ceremony for the memorial took place that year and the larger formal event was delayed.

Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt will sponsor this bill with funds sourcing from a private donation line item, the release stated. Located outdoors on the grounds of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Native American Veterans Memorial comprises a stainless-steel circle placed over a carved stone drum and includes water features and benches surrounding in a circle pattern for visitors to gather, remember and reflect.

  • Also, per the release, the special session includes an appropriation of non-tribal funds for the Nation’s departments of Education, Elder Nutrition, Financial Assistance, Historic Preservation, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Judicial Branch, Prevention, Real Estate, Services, Social Service, Wahzhazhe Early Learning Academy, Wildland Fire, and Women, Infant and Children (WIC). This bill, sponsored by Congresswoman Jodie Revard, includes routine, but necessary adjustments for vital programs and services for Osage Nation constituents.

For more information regarding ON Congressional regular or special sessions, filed legislation and Congressional committee meetings, visit the Legislative Branch website at www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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