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Article V

ARTICLE V - LEGISLATURE


Section 1. Composition of the Legislature.

(a) Legislative powers shall be vested in the Legislature.

(b) The Legislature shall be composed of Representatives from the following Districts, subject to Section 4 of this Article: the Black River Falls District, consisting of Clark, Eau Claire, and Jackson counties, which shall elect three (3) members; the Wisconsin Dells District, consisting of Wood, Juneau, Adams, Columbia, and Sauk counties, which shall elect three (3) members; and the LaCrosse-Tomah District, consisting of LaCrosse, Monroe, Vernon, and Crawford counties, which shall elect one (1) member; and the Wittenberg District, consisting of Marathon and Shawano counties, which shall elect one (1) member; and three (3) members which shall be elected at-large from outside the Districts listed above. [See appended Resolution 2-05-03 C for new Legislative Districts effective January 12, 2002]. 

(c) The Legislature shall select from among its Members a Vice President to serve throughout such Member's term. The President shall preside over meetings of the Legislature. The Vice President shall preside over meetings of the Legislature in the absence of the President and at such times the Vice President shall retain the power to vote. 


Section 2. Powers of the Legislature.

The Legislature shall have the power:

(a) To make laws, including codes, ordinances, resolutions, and statutes;

(b) To establish Executive Departments, and to delegate legislative powers to the Executive branch to be administered by such Departments, in accordance with the law; any Department established by the Legislature shall be administered by the Executive; the Legislature reserves the power to review any action taken by virtue of such delegated power;

(c) To constitute a Board of Directors for each Department, except the President shall name the Executive Director, subject to confirmation by the Legislature; 

(d) To authorize expenditures by law and appropriate funds to the various Departments in an annual budget;

(e) To raise revenue, including the power to levy and collect taxes and license fees;

(f) To set the salaries, terms and conditions of employment for all governmental personnel;

(g) To set its own procedures, select its officers, and to enact laws governing attendance of its members, including penalties for absences;

(h) To enact all laws prohibiting and regulating conduct, and imposing penalties upon all persons within the jurisdiction of the Nation;

(i) To negotiate and enter into treaties, compacts, contracts, and agreements with other governments, organizations, or individuals;

(j) To authorize and appropriate funds to employ legal counsel in accordance with applicable law;

(k) To acquire or purchase lands for the benefit of the Nation and its members;

(l) To enact laws to manage, lease, permit, or otherwise deal with the Nation's lands, interests in lands or other assets;

(m) To enact laws to prevent the sale, disposition, or encumbrance of Ho-Chunk lands, or other Ho-Chunk assets;

(n) To purchase under condemnation proceedings any lands within the jurisdiction of the Ho-Chunk Nation; 

(o) To enact laws to regulate and zone any lands within the jurisdiction of the Ho-Chunk Nation;

(p) To enact laws to create and regulate a system of property including but not limited to use, title, deed, estate, inheritance, transfer, conveyance, and devise;

(q) To issue charters of incorporation, to charter corporations and other organizations for economic or other purposes, and to regulate their activities;

(r) To protect and foster Ho-Chunk religious freedom, culture, language, and traditions; 

(s) To promote public health, education, charity, and such other services as may contribute to the social advancement of the members of the Ho-Chunk Nation;

(t) To enact laws governing law enforcement on lands within the jurisdiction of the Nation;

(u) To enact laws to regulate domestic relations of persons within the jurisdiction of the Nation;

(v) To establish and maintain headquarters for the Ho-Chunk Nation;

(w) To enact laws to regulate hunting, fishing, trapping, recreation and all other related activities on lands within the Nation's jurisdiction; 

(x) To enact any other laws, ordinances, resolutions, and statutes necessary to exercise its legislative powers delegated by the General Council pursuant to Article III including but not limited to the forgoing list of powers.

(y) The Legislature may overturn any Presidential Veto, by a 2/3 supermajority vote.  The Legislature must exercise its veto within fourteen calendar days (14) after the President notifies the Legislature of the veto.  The President shall serve notice of the veto to the Vice-President and in the absence of the Vice-President notice will be provided to the full Legislature by placing the veto on the agenda under New Business at the next legislative meeting.


Section 3. Codes.

The Legislature shall adopt Codes governing Membership, Open Meetings, Elections, Ethics including conflicts of interest, nepotism, and the conduct of all elected and appointed officials and employees, and other Codes as deemed necessary. 


Section 4. Redistricting or Reapportionment.

The Legislature shall have the power to redistrict or reapportion including changing, establishing, or discontinuing Districts. The Legislature shall maintain an accurate census for the purposes of redistricting or reapportionment. The Legislature shall redistrict and reapportion at least once every ten (10) years beginning in 1995, in pursuit of one-person/one-vote representation. The Legislature shall exercise this power only by submitting a final proposal to the vote of the People by Special Election which shall be binding and which shall not be reversible by the General Council. Any redistricting or reapportionment shall be completed at least six (6) months prior to the next election, and notice shall be provided to the voters.  [Amendment IV adopted on May 6, 2009 which became effective June 20, 2009 by operation of law.  This section ws changed to require redistricting and reapportionment once every ten (10) years.] 


Section 5. Compensation.

Members of the Legislature shall receive reasonable compensation. No increase or decrease in compensation for Legislators shall take effect until after the next General Election. No member of the Legislature shall receive compensation as an employee or in any other capacity within the Executive branch during their term of office.


Section 6. Terms of Office.

Members of the Legislature shall serve four (4) year terms not to exceed two (2) consecutive four (4) year terms, which shall be staggered, unless the Legislator's first term is filling a vacancy under Article IX of Constitution, it will not count as a term for purposes of this section. Legislators shall represent their respective Districts until their successors have been sworn into office except if the Legislator has been successfully removed or recalled in accordance with this Constitution. Members of the Legislature shall be elected by a majority vote of the eligible voters from their respective Districts. 


Section 7. Qualifications.

Members of the Legislature shall be at least twenty five (25) years old and eligible to vote. No person shall become a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature if otherwise employed by the Ho-Chunk Nation. No person convicted of a felony shall serve as a Legislator unless pardoned.


Section 8. Meetings.

The Legislature shall hold regular monthly meetings. The Legislature may hold special meetings as necessary. Members of the Legislature shall hold and attend regularly scheduled meetings in their respective Districts. Failure to attend such monthly or District meetings on a regular basis may constitute grounds for removal or recall. The Legislature shall not schedule a special meeting at the same time as a regularly scheduled District meeting. 


Section 9. Open Meetings.

All meetings of the Legislature shall be open to all members of the Nation, except when in Executive Session.


Section 10. Executive Session.

The Legislature may, upon duly recorded vote, go into executive session. At such sessions, all persons, except members of the Legislature and its officers, shall be excluded from the meeting chamber, except any person whose presence shall be required by the Legislature. 


Section 11. Quorum.

A majority of the Legislature shall constitute a quorum. A quorum shall be necessary to transact official business of the Legislature. Each session of the Legislature shall require a quorum.


Section 12. Voting.

A majority vote of the quorum shall be necessary to exercise the powers of the Legislature, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution. The votes of each member of the Legislature shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. 


Section 13. Budget.

The Legislature shall enact an annual budget. The budget shall include an appropriation of operating funds for each branch of the government. The Legislature shall not appropriate funds which have not been authorized by law. No item shall be included in the budget if it is not authorized by law.