MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 18, 2014

Cherokee Tribal Council amends FOIA

— TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council voted Monday to amend its Freedom of Information and Government Records acts, according to a tribal media release.

Councilors voted to hire an independent information officer and extend response time for Freedom of Information and government records requests, according to the release.

FOIA response time has been increased from 15 to 20 days, and response time for GRA requests has been increased from six to 10 days.

The rules committee voted for the amendments in May. The legislative acts then moved to the full Tribal Council for consideration at the regular council meeting June 16, where both the GRA and the FOIA passed.

The FOIA and GRA amendments also now keep a citizen’s date of birth, social security number and other personal information confidential.

“With technological advances, cases of identity theft have increased exponentially, and there are no indications of the trend changing course,” Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan said in the release.

“Along with other enhancements to this essential piece of legislation, this body wanted to ensure our citizens’ sensitive information on requested documents will remain private. Cherokee citizens can rest assured this body has taken every step needed to protect their identity and assets through this law.”

The legislation moves to the Principal Chief’s office for his signature.

The Tribal Council also unanimously voted to initiate the Cherokee Nation Dental Crown Program, starting July 1.

Eligible patients, as determined by a Cherokee Nation dental provider, can receive a crown at a discounted rate. For a complete list of eligibility requirements, contact Cherokee Nation Health Services at (918) 453-5657 or health@cherokee.org.

The legislative body also amended the Concurrent Enrollment Scholarship Act of 2011.

The amended legislation allows high school students to enroll in more college hours and receive more funding.

“More and more Cherokee high school students every year are asking to take college courses concurrently,” said Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick, chairperson of the education committee.

“The amended legislation now allows eligible high school students to receive scholarship money for up to nine hours of college course work, rather than just six. The more hours our students enroll in shows their dedication to academics and their futures, and saves families money. This is our way to show those students the Cherokee Nation is committed to investing in their long-term success.”

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