August 29, 2022 set for ConCon
Updated: Jun 29, 2022
By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua
On June 20, 2022 Governor Lemanu issued an order calling for the Constitutional Convention to convene on August 29. In a separate executive order, County Councils of the Territory are encouraged to begin meetings to discuss and appoint their respective delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
There are 8 amendments that will be discussed at the convention:
The American Samoa Ancestry Amendment. This amendment clarifies that the protections in Article 1 section 3 of the revised constitution are limited to persons of american samoa ancestry and do not apply generally to other samoans without american samoa ancestry.
House of Representatives Amendment, this amendment would increase the total number of seats in the american samoa House of Representatives from 20 to a number to be determined at the convention. This would be accomplished by adding additional seats to Representative District No.12 - Ituau and Maupu 15.
Veto Override Amendment. This amendment revises two sections of the Revised Constitution - Article II Sections 9 and 19 - to remove the authority of the U.S. Secretary of Interior to approve or disapprove a bill passed by the Fono over the Governor’s veto.
Impeachment Amendment. This amendment would add a new Section 26 under Article II of the Revised Constitution to provide a process for impeachment of certain government officials - Governor, Lt. Governor, and Chief Justice, Associate Justices, Associate Judges, and District Court Judges.
Chief Justice Amendment. The Committee proposes to remove the authority of the U.S. Secretary of Interior to appoint the Chief Justice of American Samoa and any Associate Justices. This decision will be left to the Governor of American Samoa subject to confirmation by the Fono. This amendment also clarifies that the Chief Justice and Associate Justices shall hold their offices during good behavior until resignation, retirement, death, or impeachment.
Removing Secretary Authority to Review decisions of the American Samoa High Court. This amendment adds a new Section 4 in Article III of the Revised Constitution removing the authority of the U.S. Secretary of Interior to review or overturn a decision by the American Samoa High Court.
Constitutional Process Amendment. This amendment removes the authority of the U.S. Secretary of Interior in approving amendments to the Revised Constitution. Instead, amendments to the Revised Constitution proposed by the Legislature or the constitutional convention, or a revised draft constitution proposed by the constitutional convention shall become effective if approved by at least two-thirds of votes cast at the general election.
Government of American Samoa vs. American Samoa Government Amendment. The Committee also agreed to remove all references in the body of the Revised Constitution referring to our local government as the “Government of American Samoa.” The Committee recommends that the preferred name of our government “American Samoa Government” be inserted in place of “Government of American Samoa.
If the Convention approves any constitutional amendments it will be by a simple vote, the amendments will be on the ballot in the November general elections.