Bill to hold elected officials accountable passes

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Council convened a special session Nov. 20 to consider legislation that seeks to amend the Navajo Election Code.

The bill, sponsored by Council Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd, seeks to lower the percentage of signatures required on recall petitions for all Navajo elected officials as a means of holding them more accountable for their conduct and actions while in office.

The resolution will also be subject to consideration from President Russell Begaye.

The Election Code currently states that elected officials are subject to recall by voters and that a petition for recalling an elected official must be signed by at least 60 percent of voters participating in the last election of such official. If the 60 percent signature requirement is met, ballots are prepared and a special recall election is conducted.

If the new resolution is passed by the council into law, the percentage requirement would decrease to 45 percent.

The council approved the bill by a vote of 14-3 Nov. 20.

The President will have 10 calendar days to consider the resolution.

Also on Nov. 20, council members tabled legislation which requests $3 million from the Nation’s Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance for Northern Arizona University to expand its existing Native American Cultural Center.

The council also referred legislation back to the Naabik’iyátí’ Committee, which seeks the approval of the purchase of over 17,000 acres in Yavapai County in Arizona, and they also referred legislation back to the Law and Order Committee, for approval funding for a justice center in Pinon.

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