An opinion entirely favorable to the Islands has been given to Governor Furcolo by Attorney General Edward J. McCormack Jr., relative to the Steamship Authority bill. The measure was returned to the Senate once again on Tuesday and is now back on the governor’s desk for another grace period of five days within which he may sign or veto it. But this is only one of a number of bills which have been shuttled in this manner between the Senate and Governor Furcolo.

“This bill appears to be in proper form and would, in my opinion, be constitutional,” the attorney general concluded, following a discussion of its provisions.

Most of the formal opinion is devoted to a statement of the aims and provisions of the bill, already reported many times. It would abolish the present Authority, establish a new one of three members named by the selectmen in the case of Nantucket and Falmouth, and by the county commissioners in the case of the Vineyard; remove all statutory requirements as to service, except for the maintenance of connections between the Islands and the mainland; and set up an elected advisory board to review the annual budget.

The attorney general’s opinion continues: “I have no doubt of the power of the General Court under the circumstances it may have found to exist, to abolish the old Authority and establish the new one.

“It has, I assume, determined that the interests of all concerned are best served by this new measure. The only cause for concern I have in mind is the interest of the bondholders.

“Of course, no power exists in the Commonwealth to pass legislation which impairs the obligation of any contract and, of course, the issuance of bonds creates serious contractual obligations.

As Matter of Economics

“I assume that the General Court, after hearing all the evidence, has determined as a matter of economics at least that rights of ant bondholders will not be impaired...

“I have in mind the provisions...reading as follows:

“ ‘While any bonds issued by the Authority remain outstanding, the powers, duties, or existence of the Authority shall not be diminished or impaired in any way that will adversely affect the interests and rights of the holders of such bonds.’

“However, the definition of Authority in that measure includes...

“ ‘If said Authority shall be abolished, the board, body or commission succeeding to the principal functions thereof, or to whom the powers given by this act to the Authority shall be given by law.’

“That clause seems to me to envision the situation which is proposed and covered by Senate 708. Legislation duly enacted carries with it a presumption of constitutionality.

“In the light of the foregoing, I cannot rule as a matter of law that this legislation is not proper. Any sums borrowed by the Commonwealth in order to make advances under this proposed legislation will doubtless be made in anticipation of receipts from taxes or otherwise under the provisions of this act. This may properly be done...”