Augusta: Legislature will hear bill on Chebeague secession

October 28, 2005 Portland Press Herald

AUGUSTA - The Legislature will consider a Chebeague Island secession bill in its upcoming session. The Legislative Council voted 6-4 Thursday to allow the proposal to be heard.

The second session of the 122nd Legislature that begins in January is typically devoted to bills carried over from the first session and new emergency bills. Some legislators said Chebeague secession is not an emergency and wanted to leave its consideration for a new Legislature in January 2007.

Islanders are set to vote Nov. 8 in an advisory referendum on secession, and supporters want the process to move forward so they can decide such issues as how the town and island would split debts and assets, and where island students would attend secondary school. They hope Chebeague can become a town on July 4, 2006.

Rep. Glenn Cummings, D-Portland and majority leader, said he voted for hearing the bill in the upcoming session. If islanders decide on Election Day they don't want secession, legislators can kill the bill, he said.