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State propositions: redistricting panel, borrow for education, go paperless for legislation

New York State voters appeared to approve three statewide ballot propositions by wide margins Tuesday.

One, if approved, would create a state commission to oversee redistricting, a proposal that critics say falls short of making the process independent of party politics.

The proposal would create a panel with members appointed by the majority and minority leaders in each chamber. A supermajority of appointees would be needed to approve plans.

If a court rejects the proposals, the legislature would "correct any legal problems." If the commission fails to approve a plan or the legislature rejects it, the legislature could again redraw the lines.

If approved by voters, the process would begin in 2020.

Another ballot question would authorize the state to borrow $2 billion so schools can buy computers, connect to the Internet, install high-tech security features and build classrooms for prekindergarten students.

The borrowing is intended to narrow the computer gap between richer suburban schools and poorer urban and rural districts. Funds also would be provided to nonpublic schools.

Cuomo proposed the borrowing after years of criticism by liberal Democrats for restricting school aid in his state budgets while capping the growth in local property taxes.

The third ballot question would allow amending the state constitution to do away with a requirement for legislation to be printed on paper, allowing lawmakers to join the digital age and clear their desks of thick stacks of bills.

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