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Osage Congress passes six emergency-related bills during May 2024 special session

The bills appropriate funds for a storm shelter assistance revolving fund, $120,000 to the city of Barnsdall, housing assistance, generators, and the City of Hominy's water infrastructure. Hominy is still under a boil order for E. coli

During a single-day emergency special session, the Eighth Osage Nation Congress unanimously passed six legislative bills pertaining to urgent situations including those ongoing in Barnsdall and Hominy.

The special session – called by legislative proclamation with more than 2/3 of Congress members’ written approval – in wake of the May 6 tornadic storm that hit Barnsdall took place to consider the legislative items with aid provided to the community. The session also comes as the City of Hominy is under a boil order due to E. coli contamination in its water supply.

In his executive message at the session’s start, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said his administration would be awaiting the Congressional action taken on the bills so the branch officials can proceed on carrying out the legislations’ intent. “When I visited, like many of you, Barnsdall, I was so impressed by the energy the Osage employees and staff had over that whole disaster area,” he said.

“The energy was positive, cooperative, it really reminded me about how we are down deep … When you saw all that one energy working together and it was Osage everywhere, it was really powerful, it was absolutely powerful,” Standing Bear recalled. “And so, how do we keep that going? I hope it’s not another emergency, we can try to build on this and along those lines … Assistant Chief (RJ Walker) and I were able to see their work, what they were doing and then the (ON Health Systems) people, with all the tetanus shots and trauma counseling and everybody and all the family members. It’s really good to see.”

In her respective legislative message, Congressional Speaker Alice Goodfox said “we are here because on May 7, the Assistant Chief RJ Walker declared a State of Emergency for the Osage Nation Reservation (Standing Bear was out of town at a conference) and within those 48 hours, we had two towns within our boundaries that have big issues, so we have six pieces of legislation … let’s get to work.”

During the day, Congress held an emergency Appropriations Committee meeting for the bills to receive review, questions, debates and consideration of amendments and revisions. After amendments to some bills, the Congress passed the following emergency-related bills:

ONCA 22-77 (sponsored by Congressman Eli Potts) is “An Act to establish a revolving fund in the Treasury for storm shelter assistance; to authorize expenditures out of the fund.”

ONCA 22-78 (Potts) is “An Act to authorize and appropriate the amount of $500,000 to the Storm Shelter Assistance Fund.” After debate, the appropriation amount received a $250,000 reduction. The storm shelter aid amount will be capped at $5,000 per applicant and the amount will serve 50 Osages whose applications are approved.

ONCA 24-54 (sponsored by Congresswoman Jodie Revard) is “An Act to authorize and appropriate $120,000 to the city of Barnsdall for emergency assistance.” The bill’s amount received a $50,000 increase following a committee discussion with City of Barnsdall and ON government officials on the EF-4 tornado aftermath and recovery efforts.

ONCA 24-55 (Revard) is “An Act to amend ONCA 23-85 to provide supplemental appropriations to Housing Assistance in the amount of $364,746.”

ONCA 24-56 (sponsored by Second Speaker Pam Shaw) is “An Act to amend ONCA 23-85 to provide a supplemental appropriation to the Executive Branch in the amount of $1,050,125 for village facility generators.” After discussion, this bill received amendments to purchase generators for the buildings in the Hominy and Grayhorse villages, while Pawhuska Village’s newly built Wakon Iron building already has a sufficient generator.

ONCA 24-57 (Potts) is “An Act to authorize and appropriate $110,015 to the City of Hominy for water treatment and water infrastructure.”

After the bills’ votes and session adjournment, all legislation was sent to Standing Bear’s office for his signature to take effect.

For more Congressional information on sessions, committees and to view filed legislative bills/ resolutions, visit the Legislative Branch website at: https://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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