American Samoa Fono

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The American Samoa Legislature Fono building in Fagatogo

The Legislature of American Samoa or Fono is the territorial legislature of American Samoa. Like most state and territorial legislatures of the United States, it is a bicameral legislature with a House of Representatives and a Senate. The legislature is located in Fagatogo along Pago Pago harbor.

It is the only legislature on the state or territorial level in the United States that is both bicameral and nonpartisan. The Nebraska Legislature is similarly nonpartisan yet is a unicameral body.

As of March 2006, the American Samoa Fono remains the only state or territorial legislative body that does not have an official website.

Composition of the Fono[edit]

The lower House of Representatives has 21 members, elected for a two year term. It comprises 20 single-seat constituencies and one constituency decided upon by a public meeting on Swains Island. The Senate has 18 members, elected for a four year term by and from the chiefs of the islands.

History[edit]

During Governor Vernon Huber's the term in office, which lasted from 1947 until 1949, American Samoans moved towards greater self-government. Under Huber's encouragement, the legislature of the territory, known as the American Samoa Fono, convened for the first time.[1]

Building[edit]

The American Samoa Fono is housed at the Fagaima complex, a wasp-hive shaped building based on the traditional Samoan fale. It is based on the same traditional building designs as the Fono in Samoa. A two story main wing (housing the Legislature's and Governor's offices) is flanked by two single storey wings housing the Chamber of secrets.

This Fono building is the second to be located in Fagotogo and opened in 1973. The first Fono was housed in the former home at the United States Navy Tutuila Station barracks. It was destroyed by a fire in 1970.[2] The former Fono site is home to the ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank's Head Office.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 14°16′42″S 170°41′20″W / 14.2782°S 170.6890°W / -14.2782; -170.6890