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Meaning of amendments is clarified

With an upcoming election scheduled, Comanche voters will determine the fate of three proposed amendments to the tribe's constitution.

The absentee ballot results of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Secretarial Election will be determined March 21. All ballots must be returned by mail to the BIA by March 20. Contests to the results must be filed by March 26.

The Comanche Business Committee (CBC) approved the three amendments to be considered during its December meeting:

• Amendment A removes section 6 from the constitution's Article V  Tribal Concil/Powers Clause. The section currently reads: "No action shall be taken by the tribal council unless a quorum is present, quorum shall consist of 150 voters."

• Amendment B regards the constitution's Article IX  Qualifications of Officers Section 2. The amendment reads: "Anyone who has been adjudge or convicted of any felony, a misdemeanor involving dishonesty, bribery, embezzlement, or of any improper appropriate or obligation of tribal assets, any improper addition or removal from tribal rolls, any indebtedness to the Nation, or fails a drug test shall not be eligible to hold office."

• Amendment C adjusts the constitution's Article XII  Duties of Officers, Section 1. The amendment reads: "The Chairman exercises the authorities and powers as delegated to his office by this Constitution and the Comanche Tribal Council. He shall preside at all meetings of the Tribal Council and the Business Committee and be the principal members of all tribal delegations. When so authorized by the Comanche Tribal Council, he shall sign necessary papers and instruments for the Comanche Nation."

The Constitution received a response from the CBC to some submitted questions about the proposed amendments. 

According to the response, Amendment A "clarifies the Powers Clause and emphasizes the Comanche Tribal Council is the supreme governing body of the Comanche Nation." The council consists of all duly enrolled members of the tribe who are 18-years-old and older. Adding the Powers Clause is to make sure each eligible voting member has a voice, according to the statement. 

"This amendment reinforces the requirement that all meetings require a legal quorum which shall consist of 150 Tribal Council members and that all business up for discussion will be approved by secret ballot and then taken to election," it states.

Amendment B is an effort to "expand the qualifications of the tribe's leadership by enhancing the requirements of candidates to run for office," according to the statement. It is intended to protect the tribe by providing leaders with no criminal record or arrearage of money to the tribe, that there is no improper addition or removal from tribal rolls and ineligibility for candidacy for failing a drug test.

The statement said that Amendment C's "sole intent" is to remove the chief executive status from the chairman's duties and confirms the offices authorities and powers as delegated by the constitution and the tribal council.

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