The Authority of the Legislative Branch
The Crow Tribal General Council repealed the 1948 Crow Tribal Constitution on July 14th, 2001 and replaced it with a tribal constitution designed to provide a stable and professional tribal government and to ensure due process and equal protection rights to persons subject to tribal jurisdiction. The 2001 Crow Tribal Constitution established three branches of tribal government: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branch. The 2001 Constitution provides for a separation of powers to establish checks and balances between the political branches (Executive and Legislature) as well as an independent Crow Tribal Court system. The powers and duties of the Executive Branch and Legislature are expressly enumerated so as to provide for orderly governance. Specifically, the Legislature has the delegated authority from the Crow Tribal General Council to enact tribal laws, codes, resolutions, policies, and guidelines in accordance with the 2001 Crow Tribal Constitution and federal laws.
The Crow Tribal Constitution requires the Legislature to meet at least four times a year during the second week of January, April, July, and October. By House Rule, the quarterly sessions (also called “regular sessions”) can last up to two weeks. House Rules also allow special sessions during the interim periods between quarterly sessions. Special sessions can be called by the Speaker of the House with two days notice to the full Legislature.
Both quarterly sessions and special sessions are open to the public. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. The Legislature reserves the right to go into executive session if there is an issue in need of discussion which pertains to an internal personnel issue, or when involving litigation (however, no official decisions can be made in executive session).
Legislative Branch hearings, including public hearings, can be part of a session. In addition, there are many standing committees of the Legislature which can schedule hearings on an as-needed basis.
A Bill for an act (also known as a “Crow Legislative Bill” or “CLB”) is legislation which intends to establish Crow tribal statutory law which, in most cases, is intended to be codified in the Crow Law and Order Code.
A Joint Action Resolution is a tribal resolution enacted as legislation which is intended to establish statutory law not intended to be codified, to give final approval of Executive Branch proposals to sell, lease, or encumber tribal lands or interests in lands (including mineral assets) or for limited waivers of Crow tribal sovereign immunity, or to express the sense of the Crow Tribal Government on some matter.
A Legislative Resolution is a tribal resolution enacted by the Legislature which is an expression of the voice of the Crow senators, which is based on the inherent sovereign tribal authority of the Crow Tribal General Council. Legislative resolutions are most commonly used for establishment of Legislative Branch policies and rules of order, confirmation of Executive Branch nominations, Legislative Branch personnel matters, establishment of Legislative Branch committees, official requests to other governmental entities on behalf of the Legislature, and ratification of proposed tribal actions where legislative ratification is provided by law.
According to the 2001 Crow Tribal Constitution, district meetings are to be held at least 30 days in advance of each quarterly session. Public notice of the district meetings must be made at least 10 days prior to the meeting.
Crow senators are elected every odd-numbered year (e.g., 2015, 2017, 2019). Crow senators serve staggered, four-year terms. There are six up in 2015 and 12 seats up in 2017. The elections take place in the fall, in accordance with the Crow Tribal Election Ordinance.