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Gov calls 2nd Special Session; who's showing up?

Gov. Togiola Tulafono has called for the Second Special Session of the 32nd Legislature to convene next Monday “for a period not to exceed 12 calendar days.” The governor’s letter for the special session, dated Oct. 11, was received by Fono leaders the following day.

However, as of yesterday none of the proposed 14 measures to be considered by the Fono have been received by the Fono leaders. Some of the proposals were previously submitted to the past legislative session but no action had been taken by the Fono so they were automatically defeated; and some measures were rejected; while others were sent to the Fono but never introduced.

First item on the agenda list provides for the “popular election of the Senate”, followed by the proposal amending the Government Tort Liability Act by capping any suit against the government at $100,000 and the ASG fiscal year 2013 supplementing appropriation.

The governor’s call letter does not provide a total for the supplemental but Togiola has hinted that the proposal will restore full funding for the Information Technology Department, American Samoa Economic Stimulus and Recovery Office and the ASG Small Village/Water Fund.

Also on the special session agenda is a proposal appropriating  $916,093 to pay for ASG overtime, compensatory for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 to comply with federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Additionally, a bill to:

•            create the Shipyard and Maritime Corporation of American Samoa;

•            create the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office and to provide for the protection of historical artifacts in American Samoa;

•            repeal the death penalty;

•            streamline the business license process;

•            update court jurisdiction for the Coast Management Act; and

•            create the American Samoa Nurse Practice Act;

The special session also calls for the confirmation of three members of the LBJ Medical Center Board of Directors — Dr. Malouamaua Tuiolosega, Gaea Perefoti and Fa’amausili Mau Mau Jr. (The Senate, who confirms the members of LBJ board, had previously rejected the nominations of Gaea and Fa’amausili.)

Other confirmations include the Commerce Commission appointees; Territorial Planning Commission appointees and executive appointments to statutory boards, councils and commissions. No names were mentioned in the call letter for these nominees and appointees.

“I am confident that you and your colleagues recognize the urgent need to consider these important matters,” the governor said and extended his sincere appreciation to the Fono for consideration and attending this special session.

However, it remains to be seen as to how many lawmakers will attend the special session or if there will be a quorum on the first day. Some senators are reportedly off-island on already planned trips while a majority of House members are working on their re-election campaigns.