Not so fast . . . . . it just may be a Grand Illusion!
Looking at the Town web site to look at recently posted Moderator Rules for the up coming Templeton Annual Town Meeting. The rules in part state that materials placed on the table have been pre approved.
It further states If you would like to make such materials available to Town Meeting members, please submit them to me for approval at least 48 hours before the start of Town Meeting.
It states you can drop off these material to the Templeton Police department.????
After reading an email from the moderator to a couple of people with the same reply which contains the following:
"I absolutely have the authority to determine what is or is not allowed at the town meeting. For example you or anyone else is not allowed to smoke or bring any alcohol or firearms to the town meeting. Town Meeting Time page 136."
So I contacted the Moderators Association and purchased a copy of Town Meeting Times for $25.00.
Came in the mail on Saturday and I quickly turned to page 136 to see what it says.
I found that chapter 9, with a subject of Debate, begins on page 134 and goes to page 138. On page 136, the only reference to any rule or power of the moderator I found was at the bottom of the page;
"Carlyle not withstanding, ("the substitution of tobacco smoke for parliamentary eloquence is by some held to be a great improvement"), with a footnote 9. it is improper (footnote 10) and in Massachusetts, illegal to smoke or carry intoxicating liquor in a town meeting (footnote 11)
Looking at the footnotes, #11 states Mass. Gen. Laws, c. 54, section 73. Note that this empowers the moderator to cause the offender to be removed, but not confined.
This seems to state that rather than having the authority to determine what is or is not allowed at Town Meeting, it simply gives the moderator the authority to have one removed from the meeting for violating the law or a rule.
There may be a copy of Town Meeting Times available for reading at a library. You can always buy a copy or perhaps the moderator will allow you to read his copy and read page 136 for yourself.
I will have my copy at Town Meeting.