President Nez and Vice President Lizer take action on several resolutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic
Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President
On Thursday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer approved three resolutions that were approved by the 24th Navajo Nation Council during a special session held on March 20, to expedite the acceptance of donations that help fight COVID-19, temporarily reduce chapter meeting quorum requirements to allow chapters to take action on resolutions related to COVID-19 while practicing precautionary measures such as social distancing, and expedite the process of implementing more telecommunications infrastructure to help first responders during the COVID-19.
With the approval of resolution CMA-08-20, certain provisions within Title II of the Navajo Nation Code will be temporarily waived to allow the President of the Navajo Nation to accept donations, which will allow the Nation to expedite the use of contributions to help fight COVID-19.
“We understand that essential functions of our government need to continue and that might require the temporary waiver of certain provisions to expedite processes. With the state of emergency for public health purposes it is a blessing that our Navajo Nation enterprises step up to help our people, their relatives, with a donation,” said President Nez, referring to donations from Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, Navajo Housing Authority, Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, and several others who are contributing.
They also approved resolution CMA-12-20, to expedite the process for FirstNet and other critical wireless telecommunications to assist first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic by temporarily suspending the Nation’s standard regulatory processes.
“We need to support our first responders as much as possible and we see this resolution as a means to doing that. There will be repercussions for any company that attempts to take advantage of the temporary suspension of certain requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Vice President Lizer.
President Nez and Vice President Lizer also approved resolution CMA-09-20, which temporarily changes chapter meeting quorum requirements to three registered chapter members to prevent large gatherings and to encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the measure also limits chapter actions to those directly related to COVID-19 only.
“We encourage everyone to stay home, but if a very crucial matter arises, we understand that there may be a need for chapters to convene to take action on certain matters related to COVID-19. This temporary reduction in quorum requirements must not be taken advantage of and must be used prudently. Once this pandemic is over, all resolutions passed with the temporary provisions should come back to the full chapter quorum for ratification. The number one priority in signing this measure into law is to protect the health of our Navajo people,” stated President Nez, who also noted that the new provisions expire in 60 days unless extended.
Lastly, President Nez and Vice President Lizer exercised the veto authority for CMA-15-20, which sought to waive the quorum provision for the Diné College Board of Regents that requires members to be physically present for meetings. The legislation was passed by the Council with no debate, as part of a consent agenda.
“While we know the legislation has good intentions, there is no clear reasoning why it is an emergency at this time. We strongly support social distancing and gatherings of 10 or less people and the board has less than 10 members. In addition, there are no restrictions included in the legislation that limit the actions that the board can take during this time. We need accountability measures in place,” Vice President Lizer said.
President Nez and Vice President Lizer thank the 24th Navajo Nation Council for addressing these matters to help our Nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. All actions taken on the four resolutions are effectively immediately.