Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The House yesterday approved in final reading an Administration bill that allows the formation of Limited Liability Company (LLC) entities in American Samoa. The legislation, which was one of the Administration’s revenue measures sent to the Fono last August, now goes to the Senate for their review and approval. The Senate version is pending in committee.
With only a few more days left in the current session, there’s hope that the bill will be approved by the Senate. Samoa News is aware of at least three US companies interested in the outcome of this legislation.
According to the 115-page English version of the bill, the measure provides owners with advantages of corporate limited liability status and partnership tax treatment, and allows owners — both local and foreign — to register limited liability companies through the Treasury Department.
According to the Administration, LLCs are one of the most prevalent business entities in the US and all states have legislation permitting their formation in their respective jurisdictions.
The local proposed law is based on the federal Uniform Limited Liability Company Act which has passed in 18 other US jurisdictions.
According to the bill, LLCs provide limited liability protections similar to a corporation and the tax benefits of partnerships, which will entice individuals to open more businesses.
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga said last year that the proposed law “aims to increase commerce and business” in the territory, adding that local business entity statutes need updating, and permitting the formation of LLCs “is an important” step.
The “American Samoa Limited Liability Company Act” details, among other things, the registration and formation of an LLC; relations of members and managers to persons dealing with LLCs; as well as relations of members to each other and to the LLC.
The Senate approved in final reading this past week legislation sponsored by Sen. Magalei Logovi’i, that regulates public and private nuisance, and if enacted into law, provides a new section to the local statute.
The endorsement vote followed a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday where Magalei explained that the reason he introduced the measure, is among other things, to assist with village aumaga during time of village curfews.
He pointed to an incident in his village where the aumaga had approached a family that was playing very loud music, during curfew, and the aumaga was told by the family that they are on private family land and therefore, they can do as they wish.
Violators of the proposed provision of the law dealing with private nuisance will be charged with a class B misdemeanor, a fine of $500.
Currently, Magalei says village aumaga conducting traditional curfews have no right to trespass or intervene in instances on private property and he has informed members of his village aumaga not to take the law in their own hands, if issues surface from private property during curfew.
Based on Magalei’s explanation, Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale — one of the two ASG witnesses at the hearing — says he supports the proposed law, adding that what happened with Magalei’s village aumaga is covered under the provision of the bill.
He said the bill is useful and important, not only in villages where there are village council of chiefs, but also in areas of the territory where none exists. Additionally, the bill would help the Fono with the noise problem, when buses passing by on the main road in front of the Fono compound play loud music when the Senate is in session.
Talauega said during the beginning of the hearing that private and public nuisance are already included in other current laws.
With American Samoa facing many challenges in today’s world, Talauega said it's urgent that there is continued protection of land and culture.
The bill now goes to the House for their review and consideration.
Also being transmitted to the House is the Senate version of an Administration bill which creates a new law: “Elderly and Disabled Adult Neglect, Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Act”. The measure was approved yesterday in final reading in the Senate and the House has its version of the same bill pending in committee.