Navajo public urged to submit public comments for legislation that seeks support and approval for the reopening of Navajo Nation casino facilities
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer encourage the Navajo people to submit written comments by mail or e-mail to let their voices be heard in regards to Legislation No. 0262-20, which seeks the support and approval of reopening full operations of Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise facilities at a minimum 50-percent capacity, and permitting the Navajo Blue Travel Plaza to operate at full capacity.
Legislation No. 0262-20 and the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s proposed reopening plan are available online at: http://dibb.nnols.org/publicreporting.aspx. The legislation is being considered by several of the 24th Navajo Nation Council’s Standing Committees this week. There is currently a petition being circulated among members of the Council, requesting for a special session to be held on Monday, Nov. 2 to consider the legislation.
“As we continue to see increases in COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation and across the country, we strongly encourage all of our Navajo Nation citizens to submit their written comments in support or opposition to this legislation because the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us and the members of the 24th Navajo Nation Council need to hear your voices. The legislation is making its way through the Standing Committees without any public comments as of today. This is the time to let your delegates know where you stand on the reopening of casinos and gaming facilities on the Navajo Nation. We are grateful to the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise for supporting all of their employees and adhering to the Navajo Department of Health’s Public Health Emergency Orders during this pandemic,” said President Nez.
The legislation outlines the economic impacts to the gaming enterprise during its shutdown, which began on March 17, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The language of the bill states, “NNGE will be forced to permanently close and layoff all employees by November 30, 2020.”
If the legislation is approved by the 24th Navajo Nation Council, the legislation states that the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise facilities would be allowed to “resume full operations (twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week) at a minimum 50% capacity until such time as the Department of Health recommends and the NNGE Board of Directors deems it safe and reasonable to increase capacity.”
On Wednesday, the Resources and Development Committee, the Health, Education, and Human Services Committee, and the Budget and Finance Committee each issued a “do pass” recommendation for the legislation with only one opposing vote overall. The legislation may be considered by the Council’s Naabik’íyáti’ Committee as early as Thursday, Oct. 29.
“Please submit your written comments by email or mail to the members of the Council and to the Office of the President and Vice President. Whether you support or oppose the legislation, your voices must be heard by all leaders of our Nation,” said Vice President Lizer.
Public comments for Legislation No. 0262-20 may be submitted by email to 24thNNC@navajo-nsn.gov and firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please indicate your full name, chapter affiliation and reference Legislation No. 0262-20. The Office of Legislative Services will not include anonymous comments in the legislation packet.