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Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Passes Shield Law, Names Commissioners

04/17/2012
April 17, 2012

Cherokee Nation Seal

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is now one of the first tribes in the country to offer journalists protection from revealing their sources, thanks to a shield law adopted unanimously by the Tribal Council at its April meeting.

“In the process of news gathering, often times a journalist has to talk to a source in order to build their information, to build their knowledge about how to cover a story, and they often have to give that source confidentiality assurances,” said Deputy Speaker Chuck Hoskin Jr. “For the most part, this will protect journalists and their sources from fearing they’re going to be hauled into court and disclosed.”

Authored by Hoskin, the bill is modeled after the shield law used by the state of Oklahoma. The new policy does not apply to defamation, libel or slander cases. It also excludes court proceedings where no other witnesses are available to provide the same information.

In other business, the Council passed resolutions confirming the nominations of Josh King and Bobby Mayfield to the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority’s board of commissioners. The nomination of Susan Chapman Plumb to the Cherokee Nation Foundation board was confirmed, as well.

Additionally, the Council passed acts increasing the comprehensive operating budget by $12.5 million to more than $506 million and the comprehensive capital budget by $8.1 million to more than $113 million. The increases are to help fund the Vinita Health Center and a child care center in Stilwell.

The Council also passed an act changing the number of Tribal Councilors on the advisory board of Cherokee Nation Businesses from six to eight and affirming those appointed to the board in January. It passed acts to update the child support code to extending a child’s support orders to age 20 if he or she is attending high school and changed the interest rate on child support orders from 10 percent to 5 percent.  The Council also approved bills clarifying language and authorizing the Cherokee Nation to give assistance to community organizations. A measure subsidizing licensed tobacco retailers by decreasing the amount of sales tax paid on non-tobacco products was also approved.

The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 14, at 6 p.m. in the Tribal Council Chambers of the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah.


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