21 Sep 2011

Push to revise American Samoa constitution

12:38 pm on 21 September 2011

The American Samoa Legislature is pushing to amend the constitution to remove the veto override authority of the Secretary of the Interior.

Two years ago, the public rejected such an amendment which was lumped together with other proposed changes to the Revised Constitution of American Samoa approved by the 2010 Constitutional Convention.

At present, the Constitution provides that no later than 14 days after a bill has been vetoed by the governor, it may be passed over his veto by a two-thirds majority of the entire membership of the House or Senate.

A bill so re-passed is again presented to the governor for his approval.

If he does not approve it within 15 days, the governor is to send it together with his comments to the Secretary of Interior.

If the Secretary of Interior approves it within 90 days after receiving it, the bill becomes law; otherwise it does not.

The joint resolution, which was introduced in the Senate this morning, provides that if the Fono overrides the governor's veto, then the legislation becomes law 90 days after the adjournment of the session in which it was re-passed.