Fono in Review
IMMIGRATION BOARD LAW APPROVED
The Senate yesterday approved in final reading the House amended version of the administration bill which increases the number of Immigration Board members from five to seven.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga had initially sought to increase the number of board members from five to nine and the Senate last month rejected that version of the bill based on the original language submitted by the administration.
The Senate, however, appeared pleased with amendments made by the House to its version of the bill, which calls for a seven member board, who are nationals or “citizens” of the United States, and of American Samoan ancestry.
The House also amended the bill to state that the presence of at least “5” members constitutes a quorum to conduct a meeting. Additionally, all “7” members shall serve five year terms, but not more than two consecutive terms.
The bill now returns to the House to be recorded in a Fono journal before it's sent to the governor for his review and consideration. It's expected that the governor will sign the bill into law.
Both the Senate and House have already confirmed five members of the board, based on the current law.
SENATE AMENDS HOUSE VERSION OF SUPPLEMENTAL BILL
After amending the House version, the Senate yesterday approved in final reading the Administration’s $5 million supplemental bill.
The major change made by the Senate is reallocating $100,000 from the DOE school building maintenance and school supply fund (which was initially appropriated $300,000) to cover repairs to the MV Sili.
The other change is a technical amendment to correct the name of the plaintiff in a High Court judgement against ASG. Instead of Amosa Tinitali, as cited in the supplemental, the correct name is Amosa Senetelini Amosa Jr.
These were the same amendments the Senate made to its version that was approved yesterday in the House in second reading, with final reading today.
Prior to the vote, Rep. Larry Sanitoa argued that DOE needs funds to fix the many public schools in the territory. He pointed to schools in his Tualauta county that are in dire need of repairs.
Based on the ASG financial report as of Jan. 30 this year, Sanitoa said, there is still leftover money in the FY 2013 budget under the Manu’a transportation to cover MV Sili expenses. He reiterated the need to maintain funding requests to repair school buildings.
The same argument had surfaced in the Senate last week, but Sen. Magalei Logovi’i, the former ASG Treasurer for the last administration, said that $1 million is allocated in the FY 2013 budget for DOE maintenance and suggested cutting $100,000 from the supplemental that was earmarked for DOE maintenance and purchase of school supplies, to use instead for the MV Sili.
Tualauta Rep. Florence Saulo had made a request in the House last week to the governor to repair bathrooms at Tafuna High School, highlighting his actions concerning repairs he directed for Fagaitua High School.
HEARINGS SET FOR ASPA AND LBJ BOARD MEMBER NOMINATIONS
The Senate and House have set for today confirmation hearings for the board members of the American Samoa Power Authority. They are Perelini Perelini Sr., Peter Crispin, Isabel Hudson, Daniel King and Va’a Sokelati Fala.
The Senate Energy, Power and Water Committee hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. while House ASPA Committee hearing is set for 11 a.m.
Meanwhile, the Senate Health/Hospital Committee has scheduled for 8 a.m. tomorrow the confirmation hearing for nominees to the LBJ Medical Center board. The nominees are Sandra King-Young, Tofaeono Dr. Victor Williams, Rep. Faimealelei Anthony Allen, Leiataua Leuga Turner and Mase Akapo.
LBJ board members are subject to confirmation by the Senate only and the Senate is requesting the governor’s office to provide — prior to the confirmation hearing — resumes and other background information for Mase and Tofaeono, because that information has yet to be provided to the Senate.