2nd Special Session of the 35th Legislature of American Samoa

A Special Session of the 35th Legislature was held at the Fono Guest House Fale at 10 am on the morning of November 27th at the request of Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga.  The Fale was filled with distinguished guests, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, traditional leaders including the Secretary of Samoan Affairs, religious leaders, ASG Cabinet members and relevant support staff from the Fono and other agencies. Also present were Lieutenant Governor Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga and First Lady Cynthia Moliga. Upon the arrival of Governor Lolo Moliga, the 2nd Special Joint Session of the 35th Legislature of American Samoa officially got underway.

Upon the sound of three strikes of the gavel, proceedings began with a Call to Order by Speaker of the House Talavou Ale.  The Speaker welcomed those present and offered customary and traditional salutations as part of

his opening remarks and then asked the staff of the Fono to perform a hymn which was followed by an invocation and prayer by Reverend Faamausili.

Next, Secretary of the Senate Leo’o V. Ma’o called the special session to order and announced the two items on the day’s agenda, which included amending the law for the Territorial Bank of American Samoa and the appointment of Senator Paepae Faiai as an Associate Judge. He followed this with the roll call of Senators and then the roll call of the House of Representatives by Chief Clerk Fialupe F. Fiaui.

Honorable Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga was next introduced by Speaker Talavou Ale for his remarks. Governor Lolo first spoke about the Territorial Bank and explained that legislation was needed to change the law relating to TBAS regarding the term “holding company”. He explained that an amendment in that regard was necessary based on advice from the Federal Reserve Board in order to facilitate the receipt of a routing number for the Territorial Bank. The Governor recalled when the Bank of Hawaii announced that it was their delivery of necessary banking services in the Territory and the Administration sought the assistance and cooperation of the Fono, which led to the development of the TBAS. He expounded that through the combined efforts of the Administration and the Fono, positive results have been realized since that time including the establishment of the Territorial Bank of American Samoa, the procurement of the Manu’atele which now provides regular transportation and shipping to and from Manu’a, and alternative energy projects which have provided relaiable power for Manu’a.

Concerning the second item on the agenda, the appointment of Senator Paepae as an Associate Judge, Governor Lolo stated that this selection was based on the recommendation of Chief Justice Michael Kruse, in order to help alleviate the backlog of court cases due to issues faced by current judges when presiding on cases where they may be a conflict of interests.

In concluding his remarks, Governor Lolo updated the Fono leaders and lawmakers detailing construction work now underway for the Department of Public Safety and Jean P. Haydon Museum which he noted were important institutions and landmarks for the Territory of American Samoa.

President of the Senate Gaoteote Palaie then offered brief remarks in response to the Governors remarks. The Senate President thanked Governor Lolo and expressed appreciation for the opportunity to build a sound relationship with the Fono, who had gathered per his request in order to be responsive towards the betterment of the Territory of American Samoa.

After closing remarks noting the importance of the day and assembly, Speaker of the House Talavou Ale asked for a hymn from the Fono staff and a final prayer from Reverend Faamausili to conclude the Special Session.