Monday, March 31, 2014

Republicans block Hale’s attempt to fund construction of Navajo Nation Supreme Court Complex

Republicans block Hale’s attempt to fund construction of Navajo Nation Supreme Court Complex

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Republicans rejected an attempt by Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), to amend the state’s budget to include $7.5 million to help build a Supreme Court Complex on the Navajo Nation. This amendment initially received a passing vote of 29 to 28 when Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, D-Paulden (District 1), voted in favor of the appropriation.  Tobin then changed his vote to no, failing the amendment.

“For too long, the Navajo Nation Supreme Court has been operating out of substandard facilities, and the people working for the Supreme Court have been making the best of this situation,” Hale said. “The highest court of this nation lacks a home that appropriately reflects the values of the community it serves. The plans for the new Supreme Court Complex would correct these issues.”

The design plans for the new complex show that the buildings will incorporate Navajo teachings and promote peacemaking sessions. Hale said it would be a point of pride. The entire construction project is expected to cost about $15 million. Hale’s amendment would have allocated money for half of the project. The Navajo Nation is expected to contribute the other $7.5 million to complete construction.

Chief Justice Herb Yazzie of the Navajo Nation highlighted the importance of state collaboration to support necessary resources on indigenous reservations.

“The Navajo Nation Supreme Court thanks Rep. Hale for his effort to have the State of Arizona act collaboratively with the Navajo Nation to fund the construction of facilities that would recognize the need to express the dignity and respect for laws. The need remains,” Yazzie said.

Hale said that he will continue to advocate for the funding in the future.

“It is unacceptable that the needs of the people of the Navajo Nation, although they contribute to this state’s general fund by paying Transaction Privilege Tax, are not being recognized.  The Navajo Nation Supreme Court plays a critical and essential role in resolving disputes for all who come before it. This includes non-Indians and non-Indian owned businesses from outside of the Navajo Nation,” Hale said.

Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.


1 comment:

  1. This needs to be remembered on election day. The proud people of the Navajo Nation deserve a sound criminal justice infrastructure and this would have been the core of that foundation.