The Seventh Osage Nation Congress ended its 2022 Hun-Kah Session on April 21 and Speaker Angela Pratt delivered her final session report before adjournment.
In her report, with data compiled by Congressional staff, Pratt reported a total of 40 Congressional bills were filed for the regular spring session and five resolutions were also filed.
“We passed 31 bills and six resolutions in this Hun-Kah Session,” Pratt said. “Bills from previous sessions were 25 and resolutions from previous sessions were three and we held 28 meetings.”
For appropriations approved by Congress, Pratt reported “for tribal funds, we began session with $2,231,030 that was available. We increased projected revenue by $459,129, we appropriated $1,449,741 and remaining (unappropriated) at the end of session is $1,240,418.”
For American Rescue Plan Act federal funding distributed to the Nation, Pratt reported “we began session with $15,311,819 and appropriated $4,250,000. Remaining at the end of this session of ARPA funds is $11,061,819.
For grant funding, “$8,630,556 in non-tribal funds were appropriated in those bills,” Pratt said. “In (indirect cost funds), authorized $150,000 for expenditure.”
Passed legislation during the Hun-Kah Session mentioned by Pratt included a bill (ONCA 22-52 sponsored by Congressman Eli Potts) to increase the burial assistance to $8,000 per qualifying death. She mentioned her bill (ONCA 22-35), which appropriated $3 million in ARPA funding toward the starting costs, including design and engineering, for a Nation-owned funeral services facility.
“We increased the minimum wage for our employees at the Osage Nation,” Pratt said referring to ONCA 22-37 (sponsored by Potts) that increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour starting with the 2023 government fiscal year in October.
“We made amendments to the criminal code for trespassing, larceny and stolen property. Also, protections against sexual harassment and discrimination,” Pratt said. The respective bills were sponsored by Congress members John Maker, Billy Keene and Potts. Pratt said the Congress also approved beginning funding ($250,000) for a Nation-owned detention facility with the passage of ONCA 22-60 (sponsored by Congressman Scott BigHorse).
“I thank you all for this session, I think it went well … we are able to complete (the session) early through the work that you do as Congress and in the committee meetings, so I appreciate all of your efforts,” Pratt told her Congressional colleagues. “Thank you to all of our staff for all the work and support you provide to us; we greatly appreciate you. To our legal counsel (Loyed “Trey”) Gill, I don’t know how you do it, but you’re able to serve and work with all 12 of us being pulled a million different ways without an office, especially during this session.”
Pratt will continue serving her Congressional term and as Speaker until the Eighth ON Congress members take their oaths of office in July, one month from the June 6 General Election. After taking their oaths, the new incoming Congress members will meet for its first session to elect its officers and form new select and standing committees.