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Drug testing for ASG employees excludes “elected officials”

Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A Senate bill requiring drug testing of all government employees was approved by the Senate last Thursday, after senators removed from the bill’s original language the phrase that “elected officials” are also required to take the drug test.

The Senate bill was introduced in the House last Friday with a committee hearing date to be announced soon. Samoa News understands that some faipule plan to seek information from the government on how much each drug test will cost and a possible funding source to pay for drug tests.  The bill does not identify a funding source for drug testing.

The bill would allow ASG, including semi-autonomous agencies, to provide for appropriate and uniform alcohol and drug testing procedures for all government employees, applicants for ASG employment, political appointees, contractors, and subcontractors.

Final vote by the Senate came three days after Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega suggested Tuesday during his office’s FY 2019 budgeting hearing, “drug testing” for the ASG workforce. (See Samoa News edition Aug. 22, 2018 for details in the “Separation of church & state raised by Sen. Magalei over Hope House allocation” story.)

During Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, Mauga noted that he has suggested to the Fono “drug testing” for ASG employees and he’s hopeful there will be action from lawmakers, as this issue would assist in combating the serious drug problem in the territory.