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Local min wage alternatives presented to U.S. Congress

Minimum wage increases could be reduced or suspended based on economic indicators

The investigative arm of the US Congress has recommended two alternatives for raising the minimum wage in American Samoa to keep pace with the local cost of living and reach the federal minimum wage level.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) had already provided Congress with one alternative included in provisions of a federal bill enacted into law in October 2015, in which the minimum wage was raised by 40 cents effective Sept 30, 2015 instead of the previously mandated 50 cents.

In tradition of “fa’aaloalo,” Savali Talavou Ale will again be Speaker of the House

It appears that the House Speakership’s race, when the new 35th Legislature is sworn in come January next year, will have only one candidate, current House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, who will  — for the second time — run unopposed.
And the consensus decision for Savali came at special meeting two weeks ago, where incumbent faipule along with faipule-elect were in attendance, according to information received by Samoa News early this week.

Layoffs likely at ASPA in the coming new year

ASPA is planning to cut about $150,000 per month from overhead

American Samoa Power Authority Executive Director Utu Abe Malae has confirmed layoffs are planned for early next year for the government’s semi autonomous agency, which he says has accumulated too much accounts payable over the years.
While the total number of employees to be laid off was not immediately clear nor the actual date of the lay off, Utu said that ASPA is planning to cut about $150,000 per month from payroll, goods and services.

Accused Leone substation shooters going to trial

Samoa News staff translation

Trial of the four men accused of shooting at the Leone police substation two years ago has been reaffirmed to get underway next week Tuesday, after the High Court dismissed several motions including those pertaining to “missing pages” and information “erased” on a police report of the shooting, according to information revealed at last Friday during a hearing defense motions.

Wave buoy out of order after being ‘tampered’ with

The wave buoy is important to help keep our community safe
Source: NOAA’s National Weather Service Office in Pago Pago

Two weeks ago, the PacIOOS wave buoy was intentionally tampered with before it broke free from its mooring. The buoy will be out of the water and out of commission until replacement parts arrive on island, NOAA’s National Weather Service Office in Pago Pago said in a media release this week.

Expect to see a slight increase on your ASPA bill

Most ASPA wastewater and solid waste services are going up this month

The American Samoa Power Authority has implemented the second increment in its rate increase, and it went into effect on Nov. 21, 2016. It covers only wastewater and solid waste services, according to an ASPA notice, which also notes that there are no changes scheduled for electric and water rates at this time.

U.S. fishing fleets prepare to fight for fishing rights


San Diego-based American Tunaboat Association (ATA) is calling for, among other things, a “level playing field” and the protection of US fishing rights on the high seas at the 13th meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission from Dec. 5- 9 Nadi, Fiji.
Tri Marine International, which has a fishing fleet based in Pago Pago, as well as American Samoa officials have called for more fishing days on the high seas for the US fleet, as fishing restrictions have impacted fish delivery to the two canneries in American Samoa.

Su’a traditional leaders reach consensus for senators


Traditional leaders of Su’a County have selected new senators for Sua’s two senatorial seats when the new 35th Legislature convenes in January next year.
Traditional leaders of Su’a County villages of Sailele, Masausi, Masefau, Afono, Fagaitua, Amaua, Auto, Avaio, Alega, Aumi and Laulii met last Friday to reaffirm its two senators — Fa’amausili Mau Mau Jr., who has previously served in the Senate a few years ago, and for Sua #2, the selection went to Muagututia Moevasa Tauoa.

Governor appoints Acting Director for Agriculture

Both DOA director and deputy director are off island gov says

Due to “critical issues” affecting locally grown agriculture products, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has made an “emergency appointment” of an Acting Director for the Agriculture Department in the absence of the department’s director and deputy director from the territory.

3rd Ma’oputasi senate seat selected by “draw”

Ma’oputasi County used an unusual way to select its third senator — through a “se’i” or drawing — after traditional leaders of Leloaloa/Atu’u and Aua failed to reach a consensus.
Ma’oputasi County traditional leaders re-affirmed, during a county meeting last week Monday, the return of Sen. Tuaolo M. Fruean (for Pago Pago) and Senator-select Fano Mitch Shimasaki (for Fagatogo, Utulei and Fagaalu).

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