Despite a legislative initiative to ban the rental of mopeds, and the continued activism of a citizen’s committee, it appears Oak Bluffs is driving, with hardly a wobble, toward another summer with mopeds on Island roadways.

The ownership structure of the three Oak Bluffs rental outlets could change with the death in January of Jason Leone. Mr. Leone held an interest in all three outlets as of last year, according to licensing documents filed with the town, though he had given up much of the day-to-day management. The business owners will not file for new annual licenses until later this spring.

Last summer, King of Rentals of MV, LLC held a license to rent 50 mopeds; Ride-On Mopeds, Inc., held a license to rent 80 mopeds; and Island Hoppers, LLC held a license to rent 48 mopeds. The total number of moped licenses allowed was 178.

Jason Leone, who had an interest in all three moped companies, died in January. — Maria Thibodeau

But Oak Bluffs town manager Bob Whritenour said this week he did not expect Mr. Leone’s death to change the number of mopeds on the road when the tourist season begins.

“There were other people that had their names on existing licenses, so I don’t think that’s going to have a material impact on the licenses themselves. I think the company can still renew them,” he said.

Several members of the Leone family remain listed on corporate documents filed with the Massachusetts secretary of state for all three Oak Bluffs rental outlets, including Aldo Leone, John Leone, and Leone Leone. Jason Leone is no longer listed on any corporate documents.

Penny Wong, wife of Aguimar Carlos, one of the owners of Ride-On Mopeds, Inc., and a director of the company, has spoken for all three companies in the past. Ms. Wong said in an email statement that Mr. Leone’s death does not change the organization or management of the three moped rental outlets.

On Beacon Hill, state Rep. Dylan Fernandes and state Sen. Julian Cyr have jointly filed new home rule legislation, H.B. 1783, that would allow Oak Bluffs to prohibit the rental of mopeds. The home rule petition had been approved by unanimous vote of the Oak Bluffs annual town meeting in 2018.

An identical bill filed last year was reported out favorably by the committee on municipalities and regional government, but never emerged from the committee on bills in the third reading, often the final procedural step in the legislative process before a bill is sent to the House floor for debate and a vote. There were no public hearings on the bill, and no further action was taken by the legislature.

Mr. Fernandes did not respond to several attempts to reach him for comment on the legislation. At a March 5 forum on Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Fernandes told constituents that the legislation faces an uphill battle in the legislature, because it might open a door to allow other towns to ban a mode of transportation.

Tim Rich, the former Chilmark police chief who heads a citizen’s committee which strongly backs the ban of moped rentals, objected to the way Mr. Fernandes framed the legislation.

“He kept on referring to it as a ban,” Mr. Rich said. “This does not ban mopeds, it bans the rental of them. You talk about banning anything in Massachusetts, 50 per cent of the people are going to be against it, just because of the word. That concerned me that it was being misunderstood.”

Mr. Rich said he has little patience for politics, but noted that in surveys and town meetings, the Island has signaled overwhelming support for the measure.

“I just shake my head,” Mr. Rich said. “It’s like pulling teeth. It’s such ridiculously common sense. This should have happened 30 years ago. Think of all the lives that wouldn’t have been changed, the people who have died.”

Mr. Whritenour acknowledged that the bill had few strong supporters on Beacon Hill.

“It’s a difficult thing because of the precedent,” Mr. Whritenour said. “I don’t think it’s supported by the state department of public safety because it deals with Chapter 90, that gives the state the authority. I know it’s not supported by the industry. It’s really only supported by the local government. Where it tinkers with Chapter 90 and the precedent about regulating transportation, it’s something that has got a lot of attention, and not all positive.”

During the last legislative session, a Boston lobbying firm, CK Strategies, LLC, was hired by Aldo Leone to represent King’s Rentals in opposition to the moped legislation, according to public disclosure statements filed with the secretary of state’s office. The lobbying firm was paid $3,000 for its work.

“If that’s the case,” said Mr. Rich, “then maybe we need to discuss other strategies. I don’t want this to die because of lobbyists manipulating the legislative system.”

Despite frustration that little has changed from last year to this, Mr. Rich said his committee remains hard at work.

“The committee is very actively monitoring and we’re formulating a plan for the next steps,” Mr. Rich said. “This is going to take the people of Martha’s Vineyard to start writing letters to their legislators. Hopefully that will break the log jam.”