TRENTON — Residents here will get the chance to comment on proposed referendum articles, which include declaring the town a Second Amendment sanctuary and a resolution supporting equitable health care, at a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20.
Additionally, the public hearing will give residents the opportunity to comment on a citizens’ petition that asks voters if they will approve the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee forming a committee to draft a plan of withdrawal from the school’s district, Alternative Organizational Structure 91 (AOS 91). The withdrawal plan would need approval from the state’s Department of Education and then be presented to Trenton voters for final approval, according to the petition language.
The hearing will be held virtually. A link will be posted on the town’s website.
In part, the proposed Second Amendment resolution states, “The Town of Trenton wishes to further express opposition to any law that would unconstitutionally restrict the rights of our citizens to peacefully keep and bear arms.”
The Board of Selectmen approved including the resolution on the town’s warrant after residents brought it to the board’s attention.
The resolution follows a growing trend of municipalities across the country that are considering declaring themselves “sanctuaries,” as a way to oppose gun control measures.
Last month, Ellsworth’s City Council debated a similar resolution but ultimately voted against it at its March 15 meeting.
At that meeting, Ellsworth City Manager Glenn Moshier voiced the difficulty in enforcing the resolution.
“We don’t have the capacity or the authority to rule on any laws to deem them unconstitutional,” he said. “That’s done in the Supreme Court.”
The Maine towns of Paris and Fort Fairfield are the state’s only two municipalities that have officially become Second Amendment sanctuaries.
In Trenton on April 20, public comment will also be heard regarding a “Resolution Supporting the Creation of an Equitable Health Care Plan for all Maine Residents.”
The nonbinding resolution states that “access to health care is a basic human right that should not depend on employment or ability to pay,” and if adopted, would voice support in developing “an equitable health care plan providing every Maine resident with health care from birth to death.”
On the citizens’ petition regarding school withdrawal, Greg Im, an attorney with Drummond Woodsum, the school system’s legal firm has stated that “What the petitioners are requesting does not follow any existing legal process for withdrawal from the AOS.”
He said in a letter to AOS 91 Superintendent Marc Gousse that membership in – and withdrawal from – the school system is governed by an interlocal agreement approved by all towns in the system.
The hearings precede votes at Town Meeting in May. Voting for municipal officers is scheduled for Monday, May 17, with Town Meeting happening the following day at the Trenton Elementary School at 6 p.m., unless arrangements need to be made due to the pandemic.