19 Jan 2006

American Samoa representatives reject proposal to sit more often

10:17 am on 19 January 2006

The House of Representatives in American Samoa has rejected by a vote of seven to six, a proposed

amendment to the constitution which would have extended the length of Fono sessions from 45 to 60 days.

The proposed amendment was approved by the Senate in the first regular session and had been languishing

in the House Rules Committee until it was brought up for review.

The House Speaker Matagi Ray McMoore said during the hearing that while the sessions last 45 days, lawmakers are supposed to work 365 days of the year attending to needs of their constituents.

He also pointed out that when special sessions are included, the working days for lawmakers extend

beyond the days that the Fono is in session.

Matagi also reminded his colleagues that every two years, the territory holds elections for the House and extending the term of the sessions would interfere with campaign time for lawmakers.

He said Senators do not face this problem because they are only selected every four years.