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Legislative Update: March 2014

CPN legislators and executive officials met in person and via video conference in February to discuss the Tribe’s legislative business. Only one member of the body, Secretary-Treasurer Trousdale, was absent.

An increase in funding for sanitation facilities construction was approved by all of the session’s attendees. The funding will provide sanitation facilities for individuals as well as assist the City of Tecumseh renovate and upgrade its water treatment plant. Citizen Potawatomi Nation secured the funds from U.S. Indian Health Service grants.

CPN will also submit a grant proposal which seeks to increase access to storm shelter construction funds after authorization by the tribal legislature. The proposal, titled “Citizen Potawatomi Nation Residential Storm Shelter Program”, if accepted, will assist tribal members and employees who own their homes in areas often impacted by severe weather like Pottawatomie, Cleveland and Oklahoma counties in Oklahoma with funding to build storm shelters.

Legislators passed a resolution approving an infrastructure funding application for industrial park development on tribal trust land. The funding, which comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, will be used in the ongoing construction at the Iron Horse Industrial Park.

Legislators also authorized the CPN Child Development Center’s building application through a funding mechanism available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Those funds, which are under the 2014 fiscal year Indian Community Development Block Grant program, will allow the Child Development Center to serve more families with child care by building an additional child development center.

Following Justice James G. Write’s announcement declining to serve another term on the CPN Supreme Court, the legislature amended a nomination resolution removing him from future consideration for the post. Justice Jane Braugh has been nominated by Chairman John Barrett for another five year term, while the search for a justice to replace the retiring Justice White is currently ongoing.

A Tribal grant application for funding under the Department of Justice’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation was also approved, with 15 affirmative votes and one absence. The grant will be used to continue CPN’s efforts at developing comprehensive approaches to public safety and criminal justice in Tribal jurisdiction.

For the 2014 fiscal year, a funding request to enter into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Land Buy-Back Program was also approved by a unanimous vote.

In health news, the legislature approved a grant that will access U.S. federal funds to be used to combat substance abuse and improve mental health services, specifically through the use of SAMHSA Treatment Drug Courts.

In citizenship news, 168 applicants for were enrolled as full members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.