Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Correspondent, Albany

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now.  She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

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8:58am

Thu May 16, 2013
Politics and Government

Lopez report details disturbing allegations of sexual harassment

The Legislative Ethics Commission released its report on the sexual harassment allegations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez.  It’s conclusions have New York City’s National Organization for Women calling for a vote of no confidence against the still-serving assemblyman, and the Republicans calling for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to resign.

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8:55am

Wed May 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo details local government bailout plan

Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his proposal for a new local government restructuring board to help financially distressed communities deal with long term budget problems.

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9:12am

Tue May 14, 2013
Politics and Government

State lawmakers carry on in face of scandal

Lawmakers in Albany tried to continue business as usual in the wake of one of the worst scandals in recent decades, that has overshadowed most other news coming out of the Capitol. Much of this week’s legislative session has been canceled, but politicians who were in town insisted that their agendas are not being derailed.

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9:05am

Fri May 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo details his plan for upstate casinos

The Seneca Niagara Casino is one of three casinos from which Indian nations are withholding revenues earmarked for local governments.
Daniel Robison/Innovation Trail

Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined the details of his plan to site three gambling casinos upstate Thursday. Cuomo, joined by union and business leaders, and representatives from county governments, offered more details of his plan to build three new gambling casinos. Cuomo says he wants to limit the locations to upstate regions for now, to prop up the failing economy. The governor says upstate needs jobs like it needs oxygen. And he says having a downstate location would devalue the upstate centers.

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1:38am

Thu May 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Names of officials secretly recorded released

Nine more names of state Senators and others potentially involved in corruption were made public Wednesday, when a judge ordered prosecutors in the case of convicted former Sen. Shirley Huntley to make public the names of her colleagues that she secretly recorded.

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9:03am

Wed May 8, 2013
Politics and Government

Controversy over access overshadows state Senate hearing

A hearing by state Senate Republicans on New York City’s public campaign financing system was overshadowed by protests, as government reform groups and other members of the public were denied entry, and noisy protests ensued.

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8:44am

Tue May 7, 2013
Politics and Government

Another state senator arrested

Former NY State Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson
File photo/Karen DeWitt/WRVO

Former Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson turned himself in to federal authorities Monday, after being accused in a nine-count indictment of embezzling nearly half a million dollars from mortgage foreclosure accounts, and then trying to cover it up.

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9:10am

Mon May 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Senate leader says he won't repeat mistakes made when passing gun control laws

The leader of the New York State Senate Republicans says he regrets the way gun control legislation was rapidly approved earlier this year, and he hopes what he now says was a mistake won't be repeated at the end of the session.

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8:57am

Mon May 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Senate GOP hearings will examine NYC's public campaign financing system

Republicans in the New York State Senate plan to hold hearings Tuesday, May 7, on what they say are abuses in New York City’s public campaign finance system. 

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5:48am

Fri May 3, 2013
Gambling

Lawmakers consider delaying vote on allowing casinos

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to bring three casinos to upstate New York.
ChrisYunker via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have tried to jump start negotiations over siting several new gambling casinos in New York. But they also conceded that the plans might be delayed for another year.

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5:12am

Thu May 2, 2013
Politics

Cuomo's abortion rights proposal stalls in Senate

Wallyg via Flickr

A key component of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2013 agenda appears in jeopardy, as the governor concedes he does not currently have enough votes in the State Senate to bring an abortion rights bill he has championed to the floor.

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8:24am

Wed May 1, 2013
Politics and Government

Assembly, attorney general, press for early voting

Democrats in New York's legislature are pushing for for early voting.
Credit Columbia City Blog / via Flickr

The state’s attorney general and Assembly speaker have proposed an early voting system for New York that they say can improve voter participation and democracy.

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8:56am

Fri April 26, 2013
Politics and Government

Governor to push for local government restructuring board

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he hopes to soon create a statewide board to help fiscally strapped local governments restructure.

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9:52am

Thu April 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Controversy causes fracking consultant to resign from industry lobby group

Opponents of hydrofracking are charging there’s a potential conflict of interest with a consultant to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental agency. They are asking that the years-long review of fracking in New York state be restarted. The controversy caused the consultant in question to sever all ties with a gas industry lobby group.

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1:57pm

Wed April 24, 2013
Politics and Government

State GOP leader not happy with potential abortion law reform

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to update New York’s antiquated abortion laws to reflect rights affirmed in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. But Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos says it goes to far.

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5:16am

Wed April 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Fracking overshadows other issues on Earth Day

On Earth Day lobby day at the state Capitol, whether or not to allow hydrofracking in New York continues to be the dominant issue.

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6:32am

Tue April 23, 2013
Politics and Government

Corruption still dominates discussion in Albany

Anti-corruption is the dominant topic at the New York state legislature for the second week in a row, following bribery charges against two state lawmakers, including a former Senate leader. A new poll finds 81 percent of voters expect more Senators and Assembly members will be arrested.

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6:32am

Tue April 23, 2013
Politics and Government

Corruption still dominates discussion in Albany

Anti-corruption is the dominant topic at the New York State Legislature for the second week in a row, following bribery charges against two state lawmakers, including a former Senate leader. A new poll finds 81 percent of voters expect more senators and Assembly members will be arrested.

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5:52am

Mon April 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Board of Elections reform discussed in Albany

Anti-corruption proposals are proliferating in Albany, following two high-profile bribery scandals. Some of them focus on the long-neglected New York State Board of Elections, which hasn’t even had an investigator on staff in over a year.

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6:31am

Thu April 18, 2013
Politics and Government

Poll finds New Yorkers want more action against corruption

A poll finds New Yorkers are upset about recent corruption scandals in Albany, and think that Gov. Andrew Cuomo should take the lead to clean things up.

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9:10am

Wed April 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo, Assembly Democrats roll out reform ideas

The New York State Capitol.
Credit Wallyg / via Flickr

At the New York State Capitol, lawmakers are scrambling to put forward plans to react to the recent twin corruption scandals involving bribery charges against a state Senator and Assemblyman. On Tuesday, it was the Assembly Democrats’ turn to weigh in. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also rolled out two more components of his own reform plan.

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9:06am

Tue April 16, 2013
Politics and Government

State lawmakers return to confront scandals

New York state lawmakers returned to work after a two-week spring break. It’s their first meeting since two lawmakers have been charged with bribery in separate corruption scandals.

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10:41am

Mon April 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Second half of legislative session overshadowed by new scandals

The second half of New York’s legislative session begins today and it’s likely to be dominated by the response to on going bribery and corruption scandals that came to light while lawmakers were on spring break.

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6:40am

Fri April 12, 2013
Politics and Government

New York state still awaiting fracking decision

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner is expected to release a health report on hydraulic fracturing soon, at least according to a timetable announced in late February. But the Cuomo administration has already missed several deadlines on fracking.

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9:09am

Thu April 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Reform groups say Cuomo's plan to empower DAs is a good first step

Government reform groups say they are pleased that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now proposed step one in his plan to clean up corruption in state government, following two high profile arrests of state lawmakers.

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5:50am

Wed April 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo proposes empowering DAs to help fight political corruption

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s district attorneys are pushing for laws to make it easier to prosecute bribery and public corruption cases, in the wake of recent scandals in Albany.

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5:10am

Tue April 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Comptroller warns local governments that fixing fiscal crises won't be easy

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks with reporters after an address at SUNY's Rockefeller Institute on the financial plight of local governments
Credit Karen DeWitt/NY State Public Radio

New York state’s comptroller kicked off a week long forum at SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute to examine the plight of economically stressed local governments and school districts across the state. 

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7:52pm

Sun April 7, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's budget victory tour overshadowed by scandals in the legislature

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been touring statewide to promote the newly passed state budget, saying it shows that New York state is functional again. But not everyone is completely convinced.

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9:11am

Fri April 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Second state legislator accused of corruption

Two days after a state senator was arrested for trying to bribe his way onto the New York City mayoral ballot, a state assemblyman has been accused of accepting payments to sponsor legislation that would benefit developers of an adult day care center in the Bronx.

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9:25am

Thu April 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Malcolm Smith scandal reverberates through state's political circles

The scandal around state Sen. Malcolm Smith is continuing to have repercussions in both political parties and in every level of the state’s government. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on an upstate tour to promote the recently passed state budget, has been dogged by questions about the scandal instead.

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