A bill that would allow Bar Harbor to create a port authority for the ferry terminal is making progress through the Maine Legislature. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Port authority bill progresses

BAR HARBOR — The bill that would give Bar Harbor residents the ability to create a port authority received initial approval in the Senate by a 25-9 vote on Feb. 2. The bill and any amendments must be initially approved in the House before it moves to votes in both chambers for enactment.

The bill, LD 1400, is sponsored by Sen. Brian Langley (R-Hancock).

Further, an amendment was approved by senators to remove the emergency preamble and emergency clause from the bill that would cause the measure to go into effect immediately. This change sees the measure go into effect 90 days after the legislative session, barring a veto.

House Rep. Ralph Chapman (G-Brooksville) sponsored an amendment to the bill that would allow voters in Tremont, Southwest Harbor, Cranberry Isles, Mount Desert, Lamoine, Hancock, Sorrento, Gouldsboro, Trenton, Sullivan and Winter Harbor to vote on the creation of Bar Harbor’s port authority. Further, it must be approved by at least six of the 11 towns in order for the authority to be created.

Another amendment seeks to change who appoints members to the potential port authority. The original bill said the port authority would have a five-person governing board. Three members would be elected by the voters of the town, and two would be appointed by the Town Council. The proposed amendment from State Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick (D-Penobscot) aims to take one allocation from the council and give it to Acadia National Park’s superintendent, currently Kevin Schneider.

The Senate did not attach Chapman or Gratwick’s amendments to their engrossed bill.

The bill was scheduled to be on the House’s agenda on Tuesday, but it was not discussed or voted on. The next House session was set for Feb. 15.

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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