Local News

USDOL appeals court decision on salary wage exemption


The US Department of Labor is appealing a federal judge’s decision, which blocked the federal agency’s final rule that was to go into effect yesterday, raising the exemption for salaried workers throughout the United States and American Samoa.

Extradition hearing for U.S. citizen wanted in Tonga set for January


The federal court in Honolulu has scheduled an extradition hearing in January for an American citizen, wanted in Tonga for the murder of his wife, and the fugitive remains jailed in Honolulu following a detention hearing yesterday after it was postponed from Monday.
Fifty-four year old Dean Jay Fletcher, while in custody of Tonga police after being arrested for the July murder of his wife, escaped the island kingdom on Sept. 29 and headed to American Samoa on his sailboat.

South Pacific Tuna Treaty signed over the weekend

U.S. State Dept. says it provides “important economic benefits” for American Samoa

The US State Department has confirmed a newly signed Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries with sixteen Pacific island nations is now in place for six year and signing of the document allows the continued operation of the US fleet in the region.
Signed Dec. 3 (Saturday) in Nadi, Fiji, the State Department says the continued operations of the fishing industry provide “important economic benefits” for American Samoa, according to a department statement over the weekend.

ASDOE mandated to provide additional SPED training and notice to parents


As part of the settlement agreement with the federal government, the local Department of Education (ASDOE) is being required to provide “notice and training” to all teaching and administrative staff regarding new ASDOE policies and procedures pertaining to students with disability attending public schools.

Court Report

Samoa News staff translation

A young man convicted of stealing from his former employer have been sentenced by the High Court to serve 20 months in jail as one of the conditions of his 5-year probation. However, execution of the jail term is suspended for Lino Penitito, who was formerly employed with Tri Marine International, and was given only 180 days (or 6 months) behind bars, if he follows every probation condition set by the court.

U.S. House passes six bills for veterans

One bill goes for Obama’s signature, the others go to Senate
Source: Media Release, Aumua Amata's office

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Aumua Amata, issued the following statement regarding the House passage of six veterans’ bills on Tuesday.
“I am pleased that my colleagues in the House have passed these important Veterans’ bills before the end of the year, and I am proud to have voted to pass these bills out of Committee and to have co-sponsored some of them. The House passed the following bills,” Amata said.

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.

ASPA’s trash and sewage rate hike will bring in an additional $.5M annually


American Samoa Power Authority is estimating it will collect around half a million dollars annually in additional revenue from the new rate increases that went into effect last week for waste water and solid waste services, says ASPA executive director Utu Abe Malae.

Community Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

The local Department of Homeland Security / TEMCO Division reminds the public that the monthly territory-wide emergency siren test for December is set for 12 noon today. The monthly siren test is held on the first Friday of every month.

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.

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