Before the 2022 Tzi Sho Session ended, Congressional Speaker Alice Goodfox shared session highlights including the Legislative Branch’s approvals of the Nation’s 2023 fiscal year government budgets to continue operations.
In her first Speaker’s end-of-session report, Goodfox reported several appropriation bills were filed and passed to appropriate both tribal funds and non-tribal funds (mostly from awarded grant funding) throughout the regular fall session, which ended Oct. 3. The Congress elected Goodfox as Speaker for the first time during its first special session in July following 2022 Inauguration Day.
“Seven bills were filed to appropriate non-tribal funds this session and all passed,” Goodfox said in her remarks. “And $74,843,658 in non-tribal funds were appropriated. Of that, more than $54.5 million was for broadband expansion in the Osage Nation.”
During the Tzi-Sho Session, the Eighth ON Congress also passed bills for projects and endeavors that will be funded with American Rescue Plan Act money distributed to the Nation in 2021.
“Six bills were filed to appropriate ARPA funds and Congress passed all six appropriating $8,605,701 for several projects, including chapel expansions in Hominy and Grayhorse (villages), construction of a new Pawhuska WELA (Wah-Zha-Zhe Early Learning Academy), flooring for the Butcher House, supplemental funding for construction of PRT (Primary Residential Treatment) facilities and senior housing in Hominy,” Goodfox said.
With those ARPA-funded appropriation bills approved during the Tzi Sho Session, Goodfox said the Nation has $1,456,118 remaining (in ARPA money) available for future appropriations.
Goodfox said 15 appropriation bills were filed requesting tribal funding (coming from gaming and department revenue) “combined would’ve appropriated $70,559,215. Of those (filed bills), 12 passed appropriating $68,483,080.”
Among the FY 23 budgets, Goodfox noted $11.4 million is appropriated to the Nation’s health benefit fund; $8.5 million is appropriated for the Nation’s higher education scholarship fund; and $1 million is appropriated for the burial assistance program.
“Nearly $1.7 million was appropriated to direct assistance for a number of other programs, including financial assistance, housing, education and Indian Child Welfare,” Goodfox said. “Congress also added $1 million to the Permanent Fund this session.”
“We are closing this session with $1,722,965 in unappropriated FY 22 funds, $4,537,521 in FY 23 funds remaining available for appropriation and the (Acting Treasurer Tyler McIntosh) reporting that $6,272,668 is available for appropriation from the retained revenue fund,” Goodfox said. “We had 17 appointees (to the Nation’s boards and commissions) and 16 were confirmed.”
For non-budget legislation considered and passed during the Tzi Sho Session, Goodfox said “we changed (election) laws for corporate donations and anonymous donations (to certified candidates seeking tribal office) and we approved bylaws for (the Nation’s new Community Development Financial Institution Board of Directors).”
Between the two annual regular sessions mandated by the Osage Constitution, the Congress meets as needed in special sessions or for Congressional select and standing committee meetings. 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