The question of whether elected Osage officials should be subject to term limits resurfaced for political debate on Day 13 of the Hun-Kah Session.
An Osage constitutional amendment resolution (ONCR 14-02, John Maker) calling to place a question on the ballot regarding term limits for ON Congress members and the Office of Principal Chief failed with 6-5 vote. A constitutional amendment resolution brought for Congressional consideration requires 10 “yes” votes in order for the constitutional amendment question at issue to appear on the next election ballot.
This is the second time Congressman John Maker has sponsored and sought a resolution to be placed on the ballot for Osage voters since he won election in 2012.
Maker said his resolution is “an opportunity for our Osage people to have a voice in our government. Everyone I’ve talked to, constituents, favor term limits … The people here in this room, I have the highest respect for them and their devotion to our people but I don’t understand why there seems to be a fear of the will of the Osage people.”
According to ONCR 14-02, the resolution seeks to place term limits on all ON Congressional seats and the Principal Chief’s office. The resolution called for each Congressional member to be eligible to serve up to four four-year terms – or 16 consecutive years if elected to each of those four terms. Once the limit is reached Osage Congress members would be required to take “a two-year mandatory leave” before being eligible to serve up to four more consecutive terms again.
In the Executive Branch, Maker’s resolution calls for the Principal Chief to be limited to three consecutive four-year terms or 12 years before a four-year mandatory leave is required before being eligible to serve up to three more consecutive terms.
Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead sought a Congressional resolution in 2011 (ONCR 11-10) regarding term limits, but her resolution only focused on the Office of Principal Chief seeking a term limit of three consecutive four-year terms.
ONCR 11-10 appeared on the June 2012 general election ballot after receiving a 10-1 vote by the Second ON Congress in April 2011. The term limit question failed to receive 65 percent of the “yes” vote for the constitutional amendment to take effect. The vote on ONCR 11-10 was: 64.71 percent voted “yes” and 35.29 percent voted “no.”
Buffalohead said she would also support Maker’s resolution because she still supports term limits. She encouraged the Congress to vote “yes” on the resolution to give the voters an opportunity to “speak on the ballot.”
Edwards said she would vote “no,” adding, “I just think that the numbers are arbitrary.” Edwards also said she disagreed that the resolution sought term limits with the allowance to seek office after a mandatory break, adding she viewed the legislation as “term interruptions.”
Congressman RJ Walker also said he’s against term limits. “I think it limits contributors the ability to serve, contributors can make a positive difference.” In researching the issue, Walker said he also unsuccessfully sought a copy of a government reformation survey sent to Osages when the 2006 government was being formed to see if questions on term limits were posed at that time.
Congressman William “Kugee” Supernaw said he opposes term limits because he believes they discriminate against those that do good jobs in elected office.
The vote on ONCR 14-02 failed with “no” votes from Congress members John Jech, Supernaw, Walker, Maria Whitehorn, Edwards. Voting “yes” were Buffalohead, Maker, Archie Mason, Daniel Boone, John Free and Congressional Speaker Raymond Red Corn. Congressman Geoffrey Standing Bear was absent April 14 due to return travel from that weekend’s election candidate events in Texas.
Original Publish Date: 2014-05-14 00:00:00