A bill that would give Steamship Authority port communities based on the mainland additional voting powers was heard on Tuesday.
The Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government took up the measure, which would grant a greater percentage of voting power to Barnstable, Falmouth, and New Bedford.
Currently, the three communities have a 10 percent value for their votes, while Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket each have 35 percent.
The measure is sponsored by Senator Susan Moran, who represents Falmouth.
She says the matter is about equity and longevity, but opponents say giving the mainland more power puts the Islands in a bad economic position.
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