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State reps weigh in on redistricting proposal

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last month his proposal for redrawing the Legislative districts, a task that follows the U.S. census every decade.

The process typically draws criticism from one party or another, or both, and was a topic addressed in most electoral debates and conversations last fall. It's meant to realign legislative boundaries according to changes in demographics and populations, but has in the past been used as a power grab.

Cuomo's Redistricting Reform Act of 2011would create an "independent commission" in charge of determining which boundaries should be shifted and how far.

The commission would be a group of 11, appointed by either the majority or minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly or selected by other commission members from a pool of 40 nominees. Cuomo's proposal must be approved by both the Senate and Assembly to be put into action.

Here's what local state officials had to say about Cuomo's initial proposal:

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, 120th District:

"Federal and State law requires that the state legislatures approve redistricting plans. We look forward to reviewing the Governor's proposal among others in the coming months. I want to give this important issue a comprehensive review before I weigh in on individual proposals at this time."

Sen. John A. DeFrancisco, 50th District:

"In Governor Cuomo's bill the redistricting commission will submit its first plan to the legislature. If the legislature votes 'no' it must take into account the objections of the legislature, and submit plan number two, which the legislature can also reject. The commission then must submit plan three, which the legislature can amend and approve as amended. In effect, the legislature can pass its own plan.

As far as the non-partisanship of the commission, half of those eligible to be on the commission are appointed by one person - the Governor. Does anyone think that whomever the Governor is, the Governor will not nominate people that will likely follow his political agenda?

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