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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9:40pm

Tue April 2, 2013
Politics and Government

State Senator, others indicted in wide-ranging corruption scandal

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a former New York Senate majority leader, has been arrested and indicted in a far reaching bribery and corruption scandal.

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8:58am

Fri March 29, 2013
Politics and Government

New York state legislature passes budget

The state legislature is finished voting on a $141.3 billion state budget, with the Assembly completing it's work shortly before midnight on Thursday. The final passage occurred one week past lawmakers’ s self-imposed deadline, but three days before the spending plan was actually due to be finished. 

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11:02am

Thu March 28, 2013
Politics and Government

This year's state budget negotiations follow closed-door tradition

It's known as the “three men in a room” style of decision making. For decades now, the governor and the two party's legislative leaders meet behind closed doors in the governor’s offices and decide key issues, like the contents of the state budget.

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4:08am

Wed March 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Despite early expectations, budget includes tax increase extensions

The new state budget that lawmakers are enacting this week contains a tax package that includes both tax breaks and tax increases. The spending plan comes just two months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo  said there would not be any new taxes in the budget.

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9:29am

Tue March 26, 2013
Politics and Government

10-bullet magazine ban to be postponed

State Senate Republicans are confirming that a key provision of New York's recently approved gun control law, the New York SAFE Act, will be postponed.

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12:37am

Tue March 26, 2013
Politics and Government

Legislature on track to finish budget this week

The state budget is on track to be finished on time, and before the March 31 deadline, now that all of the spending bills were finally printed shortly before midnight on Monday.

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8:49am

Mon March 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Senate passes some budget bills, Assembly waits until Thursday

The New York State Senate held a rare Sunday session at the Capitol, in an attempt to get the state budget finished on time in the midst of major religious holidays.

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8:52am

Fri March 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Despite agreement, budget talks go on

Even though state lawmakers announced a budget agreement Wednesday, they spent the day Thursday trying to pin down details and print the bills in time to be through over the weekend.

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11:05pm

Thu March 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Assmbly speaker says gun law provision could be postponed

The speaker of the New York State Assembly says a portion of New York’s gun control laws, scheduled to take effect April 15, may be postponed while talks continue on how to amend the provision.

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9:04am

Thu March 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Budget accord reached; lawmakers still filling in details

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to a framework for a new state budget Wednesday evening, but say they are still working out many of the details.

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9:30pm

Wed March 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Magazine provision of gun law may be overturned

Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirms that he and legislative leaders are talking about changing the state’s newly enacted gun laws to rescind a ban on the sale of 10 bullet magazines.

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7:35am

Wed March 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Lawmakers say weekend budget session increasingly likely

The New York state budget is crawling to a conclusion, as legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo continue closed door meetings to try to strike a final deal.

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6:59am

Wed March 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Assembly Speaker says changes to 10-bullet magazine limit in gun law under discussion

The governor and legislative leaders are talking about amendments to the state’s new gun control laws. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver raised the possibility that a ban on 10 bullet magazines might be reversed, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that’s not the case.

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6:03pm

Tue March 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Poll shows state Republicans disapprove of Cuomo

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo is paying a political price with Republicans in New York for enacting some of the nation's strictest gun control laws, which were also the first after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.

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9:12am

Tue March 19, 2013
Politics and Government

State budget talks to go another day

New York state lawmakers are close to agreeing on a new spending plan that would include a deal to raise taxes on the wealthy and raise the minimum wage.  They failed to seal a pact Monday night, but say they will be back Tuesday morning to try again.

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8:39am

Fri March 15, 2013
Politics and Government

State legislative leaders hopeful budget will be on time

State lawmakers are hurrying toward getting a budget agreement in place, with a stepped-up schedule of conference committees and meetings with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But the governor is throwing cold water on striking a deal by the weekend.

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9:11am

Wed March 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Disabled lobby for funding restoration

One of the areas of disagreement in the state budget centers on funding for services for New York’s developmentally disabled people. 

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9:14am

Tue March 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Senate co-leaders offer different accounts of minimum wage budget provision

The New York State Senate has included raising the state’s minimum wage in its one-house budget resolution. But that’s not necessarily a signal that a wage increase is moving forward in the state spending plan.

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3:58pm

Mon March 11, 2013
Politics

Cuomo poll ratings down, but still higher than most pols

A new Siena College poll finds a slight drop in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s popularity for the third month in a row. The poll finds the governor’s popularity has dropped to 64 percent -- still higher than most politicians in the country -- but an eight point slide from a 72 percent approval rating in  December.

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2:37pm

Fri March 8, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo optimistic for approval of state budget

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is unlikely to send an emergency message that would allow state lawmakers to bypass a three-day waiting period for the state budget.

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8:58am

Fri March 8, 2013
Politics and Government

Mental health advocates protest some provisions of gun law

Second Amendment rights advocates, who have held rallies in Albany recently, are not the only group upset with portions of the state’s recently enacted gun law.  Some people with mental illnesses believe the law unfairly stigmatizes them.

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1:22am

Thu March 7, 2013
Politics and Government

Assembly passes ban on fracking for two more years; Senate unlikely to do same

The New York State Assembly has approved, by a 95 to 40 vote, a two-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. While it’s unlikely to be passed in the Senate, the action reflects state lawmakers' growing worries about potential health impacts from the natural gas drilling process. 

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7:04am

Wed March 6, 2013
Politics and Government

State Assembly approves minimum wage

The New York State Assembly voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour, but the measure is stalled in the state Senate.

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3:10pm

Tue March 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

GOP pushes middle class tax breaks

New York Senate Republicans are pushing for middle class tax breaks in the new state budget, including a return to the New York State School Tax Relief Program property tax rebate checks curtailed in 2009.
 

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5:41am

Tue March 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Lawmakers seek ban of dangerous supplement

Former MLB player Jose Canseco at the state Capitol.
Karen DeWitt/WRVO

A push to ban the fitness supplement DMAA brought a sports hero and parents who say they lost their son to the substance to the state Capitol.

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9:14am

Mon March 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo faces difficult choice on fracking

Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a tough choice as he continues to ponder the decision on whether to allow hydro fracking in New York, and it seems there’s no easy way to win for the governor.

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10:22pm

Thu February 28, 2013
Politics and Government

Thousands join anti-gun control rally

Gun rights advocates rallied at the state Capitol in Albany
Karen DeWitt/WRVO

A rally against New York’s newly-enacted gun control laws drew one of the largest crowds to the state Capitol in recent decades.

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4:44am

Thu February 28, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo, lawmakers meet on budget

With just three weeks and one day to go before a state budget deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders met to assess how far they have to go to reach a deal.

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9:10am

Wed February 27, 2013
Politics and Government

State minimum wage increase faces hurdles

New York State lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol Wednesday following a two-week break for the President’s Day holiday.  Lawmakers have plenty to work on in the next few weeks leading up to the start of the state’s fiscal year, including whether to pass a minimum wage hike as part of the state budget.

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8:58am

Wed February 27, 2013
Politics and Government

State Assembly proposes to ban fracking for another year

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is one of the sponsors of a bill to ban fracking in New York state at least until May of next year.

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