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PROPOSAL TO REPEAL MEDICAL CENTER AUTHORITY

Lawmakers received yesterday the official communication from Gov. Togiola Tulafono regarding a proposed legislation to amend local statute, returning the LBJ Medical Center to the ASG Department of Health.

The measure will now be put in bill form before it’s introduced in both the Senate and House. It’s unclear as to when this will happen.

During yesterday’s House session Rep. Toeaina Faufano Autele said the Fono has now received this communication from the administration to change the law, which is not an easy task, especially when creating the current law several years ago was also very difficult at the time, when House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale was in office.

Toeaina asked Savali about the possibility of a meeting between the Senate leadership, the Speaker of the House and the governor to at least delay this request, and re-review the matter. He suggested that a bill to halt the new rate hike could be the best avenue.

He said he is concerned that if this is how things are — when the governor is unhappy, then the governor seeks to change the law — that it will would not benefit the government.

Rep. Simei Pulu suggested to have the bill be introduced in the House. Savali responded that the House has received the governor’s letter and hopefully he will have a chance to meet with the Senate President for discussion.

The governor’s proposal was not raised yesterday in the Senate.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT BILL INTRODUCED

An administration bill to establish by law the local Department of Information Technology was introduced last week in both the Senate and House and assigned to the appropriate respective committees for review.

This agency is currently in existence under an executive order issued by the governor in 2010 and the new department will be overseen by a director, who would also be the government’s Chief Information Officer. One of the many responsibilities noted is working with the Procurement Office to develop rules for procurement of information technology goods and services for the government.

The current chief information officer is the principal advisor to the governor on information technology policy, information technology management and information technology planning.

The bill also outlines a wide range of responsibilities for this new department, which includes working with respective governmental agencies in the development of Green Information Technology and policies.

Additionally, developing and implementing a plan for life-cycle replacement and proper, environmentally friendly and secure disposal of government information technology assets, otherwise known as e-Waste.

Within this department will also be the Office of Geospatial Information to serve the territory’s geospatial and geographic information needs.

BILL TO AMEND VEHICLE HEADLIGHT ILLUMINATION REGULATION PASSED

The Fono has approved legislation that seeks to amend local regulations for vehicle head lamp illumination and color, after the House gave its endorsement Monday. The measure, which originated from the Senate, now goes to Gov. Togiola Tulafono for review and approval.

According to the measure, motor vehicles are not to be modified with any aftermarket colored transparent and translucent substance or materials installed, affixed or applied on or in front of the head lamps, the auxiliary driving lamp, or the auxiliary passing lamp, or combinations of the head lamps, auxiliary driving lamp or passing lamp that would obstruct, reduce or interfere with the visibility or effectiveness of the head lamps, increase the beam intensity, or that would change the color of light emitted.

Additionally, motor vehicles are not to be modified with any aftermarket lighting accessories that may alter the appearance of the original vehicle from the manufacturer. This is to include any lighting alterations, in, on, around or under the vehicle.

Exempted from the proposed amendments are police or authorized emergency vehicles, vehicles equipped for the purpose of warning of hazardous situations, or vehicles equipped with a lighting system intended to mark or signal a solemn procession or occasion.

The bill also gives the authority to the Police Commissioner for the issuance of “license tags” to be affixed to motor vehicles, instead of the current law, which says that authority is with the ASG Treasurer.



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