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Laws and regulations

Rule Reform Panel

Comprehensive Administrative Rule Reform Project

American Samoa Code Annotated (Code) Section 4.1002 requires each ASG agency to "adopt rules of practice setting forth the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available, including a description of all forms and instructions used by the agency" and to "adopt rules stating the general course and method of its operations and the methods whereby the public may obtain information or make submissions or requests." 

Section 4.1003 of the Code then requires the Secretary of American Samoa to compile, index, and publish all effective rules adopted by each agency at least once every two years in an official reporter known as the American Samoa Administrative Code (Administrative Code). The last official compilation of the Administrative Code was published in 1982, well over 41 years ago.

 

In 2019, an Executive Order was issued to remedy this situation and the Comprehensive Administrative Rule Reform (CARR) Project was launched to not only update the Administrative Code, but to simplify the rule making process by assisting ASG agencies in developing their rules with an overall emphasis on alleviating the unnecessary public costs and regulatory burdens placed on the People of American Samoa. To do so, each department was ordered to identify rules that were outdated, unnecessary or ineffective, or quite simply inconsistent with the law and work with the Rule Reform Panel, an advisory body, to revise, amend, or repeal those rules. 

The CARR Project consists of two distinct courses of action. First, to evaluate existing rules and then assist departments to revise and/or amend their Rules. Secondly, to make these Rules available publicly in a convenient and accessible manner in accordance with local law.

Background on the CARR Project

January 31, 2019 - Rule Reform Panel Convened

To spearhead the Rule Reform Project, a panel of subject matter experts was convened to review, evaluate, and recommend either repeal, replacement, or modification of any outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective rules.

September 15, 2020 - Rule Reform Panel Transferred to Department of Legal Affairs

The CARR Project was deemed to be better suited as a project to be headed by the Office of the Attorney General and was subsequently transferred thereto.

February 8, 2021 - Rule Reform Panel Transferred to the Secretary of American Samoa

The incoming Lemanu-Talauega Administration transferred the CARR Project to the Lt. Governor in his constitutionally mandated capacity as the Secretary of American Samoa. 

The Rule Reform Panel Members are:

 

The Chairperson of the Panel is the Lt. Governor in his capacity as the Secretary of American Samoa. 

March 23, 2021 - Initial CARR Training Conducted

This marked an important and momentous milestone in the CARR Project when the members of the Panel collaborated in conducting the initial training for designated Rule Reform Officers for 36 ASG departments and agencies.

September and October of 2021 - Legal Consultants Hired

Legal Consultants were hired to coordinate and work with ASG Departments and Agencies to review, evaluate, and if necessary, amend their respective rules under the guidance of the Rule Reform Panel. 

 

A critical part of said review was to take a look at the statutory authority for each department to promulgate Rules and, if necessary, draft Statutory Reform Recommendations to grant that particular department the statutory authority to make these Rules. 

As of May 24, 2023....

Of the 36 departments and agencies that participated in the Initial Training in 2021, we are currently working with twenty-seven of these agencies to realize the goals set by Executive Order 001-2019.

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Order Establishing Rule Reform Project

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Order Transferring Rule Reform Panel to Legal Affairs

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Order rescinding 008-2020 & amending 001-2019

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