Referenda Considered by Towns Across the State

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(Host) It appears that most referenda fared well at town meetings this week.

According to backers of a resolution against genetically engineered foods, the non-binding measure was supported by at least 24 towns. One town, Rochester, voted against the article and two tabled it.

Of the 30 towns that took up the Earth Charter, two-thirds voted to recommend that state and local officials follow the environmental and social guidelines laid out in the charter.

A measure encouraging the adoption of instant runoff voting for statewide elections also appears to have received widespread support. The drive to adopt the resolution was spearheaded by the League of Women Voters.

A referendum requesting that the state block the sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant and take steps to shut it down was debated in nine Southwestern Vermont communities. In Guilford, some referendum supporters argued that selling the plant means losing control over how it’s run in the future:

(Speaker at meeting) "We have a civic responsibility. This is our plant. This is our state. This is our area. We built it. We run it. We own it. We’ll keep it safe. So I very much disagree with the idea of selling it to someone outside."

Others in Guilford said closing the plant would devastate the local economy:

(Speaker at meeting) "It’s funny. Today we’re here to vote on budgets and we’re worried about $4,000 here and minimum amounts. But when you look at losing over 500 jobs, I don’t know what you’re thinking!"

Guilford joined six other communities in support of the referendum against Vermont Yankee. Two towns, Brattleboro and Townsend voted down the measure.

As of late Tuesday, no information was available on the fate of a non-binding resolution prohibiting school employees from quote promoting, encouraging or sanctioning homosexuality unquote. The referendum drive was started by Derby Representative Nancy Sheltra. Sheltra said she hadn’t yet received results from the roughly 20 towns that were expected to take up the measure.

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