Third ON Congress votes to extend Hun-Kah Session

The Third Osage Nation Congress is stretching its session past the 24-day marker after a majority agreed to extend the session up to three days.

The final day of session is April 25. A majority of the session focused on budget issues as the legislative body considered several appropriation bills requesting supplemental funding or reserving tribal money for savings purposes.

On April 17, Congress voted unanimously to create a permanent fund and appropriated $30 million in tribal money for the fund intended to support direct services for the Osage tribal membership.

The permanent fund bill (ONCA 12-85 sponsored by Congressman Geoffrey Standing Bear) authorizes the fund’s creation with the $30 million coming from the general treasury. The bill also has a spending restriction stating: “The Osage Nation may not borrow, encumber or appropriate funds from the Permanent Fund except for expenditure on direct services by appropriation for the Osage Nation membership.”

Direct services for Osages include student scholarships, financial hardship assistance and burial assistance available through the Constituent Services office. 

The Congress will consider more money-related legislation starting April 25 including ONCA 13-35 (sponsored by Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn) which is “an act to regulate appropriation of the funds on deposit in the general fund in the Treasury; to require capital projects to be considered as separate appropriations.”

In related budget news, the Congressional Appropriations Committee voted to accept the Nation’s 2014 fiscal year’s projected revenue to be set at $44,725,905 during an April 22 meeting. The projected revenue includes the projected $40 million from gaming and revenues from the Tax Commission, treasury interest revenue and uncommitted funds.