The Power of Title II
By: NP staff | The Navajo Post | May 18
Window Rock, Ariz. – Navajo Lawmakers passed a bill that will establish a ‘ Water Rights Watch Dog’, basically a over site committee that will focus on hearings related to the water debacle.
But on Friday, May 18 the Speaker office made it clear, they still maintain their stance and that all decisions regarding the water rights settlement would be open to the public with full transparency and said in order for them to take an official position on the water rights settlement it will have to occur through the legislative process as mandated by Title II, which could be the beginning of a gruesome political process for the Navajo Nation government.
On Wednesday, May 16, the Naa’bik’iyati Committee of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council issued a press released that it passed legislation 0134-12
The committee voted eight supporting and seven opposing to appoint Council Delegates Dwight Witherspoon, Lorenzo Curley, Walter Phelps, and Alton Shepherd. Speaker Johnny Naize will also serve alongside the appointed delegates.
The legislation 0134-12 was sponsored by Council Delegate Jonathan Hale, which pressed Hale to sponsor the bill from a March 29 Naa’bik’iyati’ Committee meeting.
When S. 2109 was introduced on February 14 by Senator Jon Kyl, Navajo communities have actively participated in ongoing discussions related to the Navajo Hopi Little Colorado River Settlement as well as S. 2109. Proponents of the bill say it will help put an end of a legal 1972 water dispute and opponents of the bill say the Navajo Nation is selling their water to outsiders.
Navajo Legislative process, how it works…
the process requires a council delegate to sponsor the legislation; the legislation is then assigned to the appropriate committees; the legislation is posted to the Navajo Nation Council website for a period of five days, during which comments can be submitted electronically; after the five-day bill hold period the legislation will be considered by each committee it was assigned to; the legislation will eventually make its way to the Navajo Nation Council where final authority rests.
When the legislation is sponsored it will be posted on the Navajo Nation Council website for the 5-day bill hold. Navajo Nation citizens will have the opportunity to comment during the bill hold period and during committee and council deliberation on the legislation.
Although the task force has not established a plan on how they will approach the water rights settlement, when such plans are confirmed it will be made available publicly, said public information office Jerome Clark, for the Speaker.