Senate approves its 17-standing committees
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — During its Tuesday session, the Senate approved its 17-standing committees — which included the chair and vice chair along with members — for the 37th Legislature. Senators also approved Senate Rules to conduct business throughout the current legislative session.
Meanwhile, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga has appointed two liaison officers for the governor to the Senate and three to the House of Representatives.
After approval of standing committees, Senate President Tuaolo Manaia Fruean informed senators that when committees convene for hearings, all senators are allowed to participate as a committee-of-the-whole.
Samoa News points out that this has also been the protocol in previous legislative sessions, and it allows all senators to sit in and ask questions, especially when it comes to pressing issues presented to the Senate.
According to the Senate committee listing, Sen. Magalei Logovi’i — who had been chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee in the last four years — is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee while Sen. Malaepule Saite Moliga is vice chair.
As chairman of the Rules Committee, Magalei is also the Senate Protempore — or the Senate vice president.
For the Budget and Appropriations Committee, the chairman is Sen. Utu Sila Poasa while Magalei is vice chair.
Following is the list of standing committees, along with chairmen and vice chairmen
• Agriculture — Sen. Ponemafua Tapeni, chair and Sen. Ma’o Fa’auma Gogo, vice chair
• Education — Sen. Alo Paul Stevenson, chair and Sen. Fai’ivae Iuli A. Godinet, vice chair
• Judiciary — Sen. Tuiagamoa T. Tavai, chair and Sen. Soliai T. Fuimaono, vice chair
• Energy, Power & Water (ASPA) — Sen. Ma’o Fa’auma Gogo, chair and Sen. Satele Galu T. Satele Sr, vice chair
• Public Works — Sen. Satele Ali’itai Lili’o, chair and Sen. Utu Sila Poasa, vice chair
• Samoan Affairs — Sen. Muagututi’a M. Tauoa, chair and Sen. Fonoti Tafa’ifa Aufata, vice chair
• Retirement — Sen. Soliai T. Fuimaono, chair and Sen. Satele Ali’itai Lilio, vice chair
• Government Operations — Sen. Togiola T.A. Tulafono, chair and Sen. Magalei Logovi’i, vice chair
• Parks & Recreation — Sen. Tauiliili L. Paopao, chair and Sen. Ponemafua Tapeni, vice chair
• Public Safety/Homeland Security — Sen. Fai’ivae Iuli A. Godinet, chair and Sen. Togiola T.A. Tulafono, vice chair
• Hospital/Public Health — Sen. Satele Galu T. Satele, chair and Sen. Tuiagamoa T. Tavai, vice chair
• Transportation/Port & Airport — Sen. Malaepule Saite Moliga, chair and Sen. Ma’o Fa’auma Gogo, vice chair
• Human and Social Services — Sen. Fonoti Tafa’ifa Aufata, chair and Sen. Fano F. Shimasaki, vice chair
• Economic Development/Ways and Means — Sen. Uti Petelo, chair and Sen. Tuiagamoa T. Tavai, vice chair
• Communications/Fisheries/Marine & Wildlife Resources — Sen. Fano F. Shimasaki, chair and Sen. Alo Paul Stevenson, vice chair
GOVERNOR’S LIAISON OFFICERS
In separate letters, both dated Jan. 12th, the governor informed the Fono leaders of his appointments of liaison officers to the Fono.
For the Senate, the governor’s liaisons are Moananau Vaiala, Paogofie Fiaigoa and Sialega Tuiga Jr. During the Lolo Administration, Sialega was the liaison to the Senate, Paogofie to the House and Moananu was Lolo’s cultural advisor.
At the House, Lemanu appointed Fiu J. Saelua (who served as chief of staff to Lolo) and former faipule, Gafatasi Afalava, who served in the House in the last Legislative session.
“The Liaison Officers serve as my link to the Fono, keeping me informed of all Chamber proceedings,” Lemanu wrote to the Fono leaders, and noted that existing protocols relative to the channel of communication between the Legislative and Executive branches remain unchanged.
Lemanu explained that all official communications would come directly from the governor and lieutenant governor as per standard protocol. He thanked the Fono leaders for allowing his liaison officers “to observe the sessions and activities” of the Fono.
SENATE CONCERNS & “TUSI FA’ALUPEGA”
The Senate Samoa Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing next week Tuesday to get more information and details from the Office of Samoan Affairs and the committee on the new “Tusi Fa’alupega o Tutuila ma Manu’atele” — a book of salutations for Tutuila and Manu’atele.
The first edition of the book was launched Dec. 31, 2020 under the previous Lolo Administration but some senators voiced concerns over the book, starting with Sen. Tuiagamoa T. Tavai who said during Tuesday’s session that not all fa’alupega of villages and counties are included in the new book.
This was also echoed by two other senators, while others say that some traditional leaders are not supportive of the new book and even other traditional leaders had objected to making this the new Tusi Fa’alupega that will now be used by future generations.