HOUSE APPROVES 4 MEMBERS OF RETIREMENT FUND BOARD
The House endorsed during its Saturday session four of the seven nominees to the ASG Employees’ Retirement Fund board of trustees, which is one of the issues up for consideration during the special session which convened on Friday, the same day the nominees were introduced in the House.
The nominees — Su’a Carl Schuster, Talalemotu Mauga, Avamua David Haleck, John Marsh, Afuola K.S. Nanai, Toafala Iafeta and Brant ‘BJ’ Judy — were rejected during the 2nd Regular Session, which ended last Thursday. Judy is the only returning member of the current board and he was the only nominee who was not on island during confirmation hearings by the House and Senate early this year.
According to the governor’s nomination letter, Mauga will serve a five-year term; Su’a and Avamua both four-year terms; Marsh and Afuola with three-year terms and Iafeta and Judy with two-year terms.
Lolo wrote, “All these nominees possess the requisite business and financial experience necessary to the continued successful administration of the Retirement Fund.”
During the Saturday vote, the House confirmed Talalemotu Mauga in a 14-2 vote; and Brandt Judy, Afuola Kalasa, and Toafala Iafeta each received a vote of 12-4.
The House rejected in a vote of 10-6 each Su’a Carl Schuster and John Marsh and Avamua David Haleck 8-8. (Each nominee needed at least 11 “yes” votes to be confirmed.)
IMMIGRATION LAW REVIEW AND SYTEM UPGRADE FUNDING
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has allocated more than $300,000 in the new fiscal year 2014 budget to deal with immigration matters, including immigration reform. The funding allocations are listed under the Special Programs budget category.
The governor said identified “weaknesses in our existing immigration laws will require significant effort to develop new statutory language and the drafting of new policies and procedures to implement the changes.”
Lolo allocated $150,000, saying the money will go to defray costs associated with the work. He then allocated $250,000 for an immigration computer system upgrade, saying it’s acknowledged that the enforcement of local immigration laws has been haphazard over the years, and one of the contributing factors is “our inability to track the visitor after he or she enters the territory”.
He says the current existing system has not worked since installation and there is no way to restore this system to workable order.
“Accordingly a new system is needed to allow for the registering of visitors and then tracking their whereabouts to the date on which their entry permit expires,” he said.
HOUSE APPROVES HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND CHILD ABUSE BILLS
Prior to the official close last Thursday of the 2nd Regular Session of the 33rd Legislature, the House gave its final approval of two admin bills after making amendments to further clarify language of both measures.
One bill seeks to further criminalize child abuse and amendments by the House further clarifies what is considered “a dangerous instrument” that is used to threaten a children. The amendment states that a dangerous instrument is any instrument, article, or substance, which under the circumstance in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
The second amendment deleted the words “mentally retarded” from the bill and replaced it with a “person whose mental capacity has been determined by a health professional to be that of someone under the age of 18”.
House members were disturbed with using “mentally retarded” in the bill and believe it was not appropriate.
The second administration bill approved by the House further criminalizes human trafficking. The House provided additional words and the meaning to reflect what’s mentioned in the bill’s language.
For example, the House explained what is considered, “unlawful deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another” which includes restriction of another’s liberty accomplished through fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, menace or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person.
The House versions of the two bills were introduced in the Senate last week and referred to the appropriate committee for review. The Senate version of the bills were approved — without any amendments — two weeks ago and sent to the House for review.
The two bills will be taken up when lawmakers returned in January for the 3rd Regular Session of the 33rd Legislature. Lawmakers are currently in a special session called by the governor and these two issues are not on the agenda.
ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO MAINTAIN SCHOOLS IN FY 2014 BUDGET
Besides the $1.4 million included in the Department of Education’s new fiscal year 2014 budget for the annual “school renovation fund”, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has allocated an additional $500,000 for “ASG Construction/School Maintenance Projects” — which is listed under the Special Programs budget category.
“A recently completed facilities report reaffirmed the failure of government to properly repair and maintain our school facilities,” the governor said. “We are exploring different alternatives to ensure continual maintenance on a regular basis.”
He said the allocated funds will be used to accommodate the maintenance needs of school facilities.
THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS
To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: email@example.com
You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.