No August Per Cap

By Ardith Van Riper

     On July 7, 2020 there was a regular meeting of the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature at the Tribal Executive Offices near Black River Falls.  A resolution regarding Per-Capita Declaration for August 1, 2020 was on the agenda.  Those listening via Webex heard the resolution did not pass.

      The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislative Branch started utilizing Webex in recent months.  Webex is a web conferencing or videoconferencing application.  It aids working remotely and working securely. Individuals join a Webex meeting by video or phone.  A link or phone number is provided, along with a meeting number and access code.  The Legislative office typically announces and sends this information to the Executive Legislative Information Officer prior to the meeting starting.

     Those joining the meeting are requested to mute their microphones because background noise makes the meeting nearly impossible to continue at times.  The host of the meeting has the capability of expelling individuals who do not comply.  

      Another capability of Webex is to move the meeting into another room.  This typically happens when the Legislature moves into executive session.

      The regular meeting went into executive session before the Per-Capita Declaration for August 1, 2020 came up.  The Legislature moved to open session again at 5:48 PM.

      The Legislature looked at the revenue since the coronavirus has started to close our casinos and current revenue projections.  The Nation’s casinos had been closed for over three months and it severely impacted revenues.  In facing the unprecedented threat, the Legislature had to consider revenue shortfalls under the tribe’s revenue allocation plan.  Another possible motivation for the action of the Legislature was to save as much as possible due to the potential for another shutdown.

      This resulted in the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature initiating an emergency relief program called CARES Act Emergency Relief Assistance to Tribal Members.  The program is intended to assist adult tribal members that are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

      The Emergency Relief Assistance is not a per cap.  The federal CARES Act funds this program.  Tribal members must submit an application to the Ho-Chunk Nation Treasury Department in order to receive assistance.

      Applications for CARES Emergency Relief Assistance Program will be made available at the Area Meetings and online.  Like and follow the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislative Branch or Hocak Worak Facebook pages for updates.?