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Senate postpones final vote on Real ID Act legislation

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Senators unsure whether the House voted for $40 or $100 for driver's licenses

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Senate yesterday postponed the final vote on the House version of the “American Samoa REAL ID Act”, after it was discovered that the Samoan version of the bill is different from the English version dealing with the proposed new fee for a driver’s license.

The bill, which was submitted by the Administration last month, went through third and final reading during yesterday’s Senate session, and before the final vote was carried out, Sen. Fai’ivae Iuli Godinet pointed out the discrepancy between the English and Samoan versions.

The bill proposes a fee of $40 for a driver’s license (which is currently $12, and the license is valid for three years), driving privilege cards, limited term licenses, and ID cards. The fee is the same for renewals.

The Samoan version, which is used when legislations are read in the Fono, shows the $40 fee.

However, Fai’ivae said the English version of the House bill shows $100 while $40 has been crossed out — as part of the amendment. He questioned which is the correct fee — $40 or $100. Fai’ivae’s concern was echoed by Sen. Magalei Logovi’i.

It was noted during the session that this was how the bill was transmitted by the House.

After a brief discussion, Senate President Gaoteote Tofau announced that the final vote will not be carried out and communication will be sent to the House seeking further clarification dealing with the fee: is it $40 or $100?

The Senate communication is expected to be received today by the House.

Two House members told Samoa News last week that the bill was approved in final reading without any amendments, although there was a suggestion to increase the fee.

When contacted again yesterday, the same two faipule were surprised when told of the $100 fee. They said there shouldn’t be any amendments in the House version as the bill was approved in its entirety, as submitted by the Administration.

The American Samoa REAL ID Act seeks to amend current laws and brings American Samoa into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act when it comes to the issuance of local driver’s licenses and ID cards.

Early this month the US Department of Homeland Security, charged with implementing the federal REAL ID Act, which was enacted in 2005, granted an extension until Oct. 10, 2019, to American Samoa to comply with the federal law.