Community Briefs

REFERENDUM FOR 2014 ELECTION SENT TO ELECTION OFFICE

 

An amendment to the local Constitution dealing with the Fono’s veto override authority will be voted on in this year’s general election after an official communication last week from Acting Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga was transmitted to chief election officer Tuaolo M. Fruean.

 

In his letter, Lemanu said the Senate Joint Resolution on the veto override issue meets the constitutional criteria for putting the proposed amendment to voters and therefore should be placed on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

 

“Within budgetary limitations I also encourage your office to engage in a public outreach program to raise public awareness around this proposed amendment without taking any position on its merits one way or another, in view of your role in conducting the election,” he wrote.

 

Last month, Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono called on the Fono leadership to look at planning public awareness programs to educate the community about giving the Fono the authority to override the governor’s veto, which is an issue to be on the general election ballot.

 

Soliai told Samoa News in 2008 that the Election Office cannot, under the law of the land, conduct public awareness for any issue placed on the ballot because the Election Office is charged with conducting fair elections and must be independent of all issues relating to the election.

 

At present, the Constitution provides that no later than 14 days after the governor has vetoed a bill, it may be passed over by a two-thirds majority of the entire membership of each Fono chamber. A bill so re-passed is re-presented to the governor for his approval. If the Governor does not approve it within 15 days, he must send it — together with his comments — to the Secretary of Interior.

 

However, the Fono approved amendment states that a bill so re-passed shall “become law 60 days after the adjournment of the session in which it was passed”. It would also delete the rest of the current provision requiring the Interior Secretary’s approval.

 

CHANGE MADE REGARDING THE IMPORTATION OF PRODUCTS CONTAINING PHOSPHATES

 

Through a Mar. 26 executive order Acting Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga has allowed the importation of soaps or detergents with zero to 0.5 percent phosphates, amending an order issued in 2012, regarding the prohibition on the importation of phosphates in detergent, as it exists under the American Samoa Climate Change Rules.

 

Lemanu said the 2012 order “is unduly restrictive and must be modified to be consistent with practical and generally accepted technical standards”.

 

“While the prohibition of phosphates in detergents is necessary to maintain water quality in American Samoa, the zero percent ban of phosphates is not reasonable, as almost all detergents contain trace amounts of phosphates,” he said.

 

He said this modification allows for the “continued protection of our precious water resources” while taking into consideration the interests of the business community and the household consumer.

 

He then ordered that it’s prohibited to import soaps or detergents that are not considered "Phosphate Free”.  Soaps and detergents which contain between zero and 0.5% phosphates fall in this category, and the importer shall bear the burden of proving that any detergent imported into the Territory meets this requirement.

 

Further, any detergent which cannot be shown to be compliant with this provision shall be subject to seizure, forfeiture or removal from the Territory at the importer's expense. The new change went into effect on Mar. 31.

 

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SCHEDULES SIREN REPAIRS

 

In a press release on Monday, the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security has notified the public that maintenance and repair work is scheduled to begin on all emergency sirens, and this will include the sirens on Tutuila, Aunu’u and Manu’a.

 

The service will be done by off-island contractors beginning Monday and continuing through May 04, 2014. ASDHS says the work may include weekends, and this to ensure that all sirens are in proper working condition in the event of an emergency.

 

Should the public have any questions, please contact the ASDHS at 699-0411 or 699-3800.

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