14 Feb 2012

American Samoa push to change constitution amendment process

4:15 pm on 14 February 2012

American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, wants to repeal a 1983 law requiring U.S. congressional approval of amendments to the territory's constitution.

At present any changes to the American Samoa constitution have to be first approved by a majority of local voters, then approved by the Secretary of Interior and finally by the US Congress.

The requirement for congressional approval of changes to the constitution came about after a squabble nearly 30 years ago when an assistant secretary of the Interior had tried to remove the American Samoa attorney-general.

Congressman Faleomavaega says his proposed legislation will allow the people and leaders of American Samoa to work closely with the Secretary of the Interior on changes to the constitution.

He says if changes are needed, it will be much easier without Congressional involvement.