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Governor’s Rule Reform Panel transferred to Legal Affairs under the AG

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Purpose of panel is to recommend outdated regulations that need removing

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Through an executive order issued Tuesday this week, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga transferred operational and logistical control of the Governor’s Rule Reform Panel to the Legal Affairs Department, under the Attorney General’s Office.

The five-member Panel was first established early last year and tasked with acting in an advisory capacity to assist departments and agencies of ASG with repealing, replacing, formulating and modifying rules to promote efficiency.

Representatives on the panel are from Department of Legal Affairs, Budget Office, Treasury Department, Administrative Law Judge Office and the Governor’s Office. The initial chair of the panel was Jerome Ieremo from the Governor’s Office.

According to the governor, the logistical and operational functions of the Panel were physically housed and administered within the office of the Administrative Law Judge.

“Given the legal significance of the Panel’s mandate as well as preserving the judicial integrity of the Administrative Law Judge,” Lolo — through his Tuesday order clarified the responsibilities of the AG’s Office.

Lolo amended the original executive order by designating the Attorney General as chairperson of the Panel and the vice chair shall be selected by the membership.

Furthermore, administrative, logistics and operational functions of the Panel are placed under the authority of the Attorney General.

By establishing the Panel, the governor “affirmed” the Executive Branch’s “policy" to alleviate unnecessary public costs and regulatory burdens placed on the American Samoan people.

The executive order sets up the establishment of a process to ensure a coherent and efficient rule-making system exists within the Executive Branch that “can continuously operate into the future to lower public costs and regulatory burdens” on local residents.

According to the governor, the panel shall be advisory only, and hold meetings with the designated representatives from all agencies, the technical experts assisting them, agency heads, and other authorized rule-making authorities to evaluate both draft and final recommendations regarding rule formulation, repeal, replacement or modification before such are put out for public notice and comment.

At a minimum, the panel shall provide - among other things — advise in identifying recommended rules that:

•     eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;

•     are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective; and

•     create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies already in place.

A final report by the Panel is expected to be completed soon, and forwarded to the governor to be shared with the new incoming administration in January 2021. One of the major tasks for the Panel is to recommend outdated regulations which need to be removed.