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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8:22am

Fri December 14, 2012
Politics and Government

Campaign finance reform likely a hot topic in 2013

Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have talked campaign finance reform this week.
Credit Karen Dewitt / NYSPR

It now seems clear that 2013 will be the year in which campaign finance reform will be debated in Albany. But it’s not clear yet what shape the legislation will take, or whether public financing of campaigns will be included. 

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9:09am

Thu December 13, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo talks campaign finance, the Senate, fracking with New York State Public Radio

governorandrewcuomo Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will soon introduce legislation to regulate electioneering activities by some not-for-profits that have become increasingly influential players in funding political campaigns.

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9:02am

Wed December 12, 2012
Politics and Government

Senate GOP Leader dampens expectations on progressive bills

New York state Senate Republicans dampened expectations that their new governing coalition would move quickly on progressive issues championed by Democrats, including a minimum wage increase and public financing of campaigns.

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8:52am

Tue December 11, 2012
Government

Will Thruway Authority finally vote on truck toll hikes?

The New York State Thruway Authority board is scheduled to meet again next Monday. But there’s still uncertainty whether they will finally act on a proposal to raise truck tolls.

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8:45am

Tue December 11, 2012
Politics and Government

New state Senate coalition defends itself

The newly-formed coalition of Republicans and Democrats, who will run the New York state Senate for the new term starting in January, made their first public appearance. They responded to criticism that the new majority coalition leaves out blacks and Hispanics. 

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5:58am

Mon December 10, 2012
Politics and Government

Will there be fracking by February?

The Cuomo Administration could be headed toward approval of hydrofracking in New York by the end of February, when a 90-day extension on a rule making process ends.

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5:39am

Mon December 10, 2012
Politics and Government

New state Senate co-leader says coalition is not exclusive

The new governing coalition of the New York state Senate has received some criticism that it is leaving out minorities. But one of the two co-leaders of the Senate is defending the coalition, which includes five Independent Democrats and 30 Republicans.

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8:42am

Fri December 7, 2012
Politics and Government

New state Senate co-leader says coalition can be more effective

The new co-leader of the New York stat Senate, Senator Jeff Klein, says he knows the new coalition of five Democrats and around 30 Republicans will have to prove itself in the coming months and deliver on key pieces of legislation. But he says they stand a better chance of success than if just the Democrats alone were in charge of the Senate.

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8:53am

Thu December 6, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo's support for state Senate coalition is conditional

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has maintained that he has stayed out of the New York state Senate leadership fight, is now endorsing a newly formed coalition of Senate Republicans and five Democrats, but with some conditions.

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1:34am

Wed December 5, 2012
Politics

Senate forms unprecedented new governing coalition

The leadership fight in the New York state Senate has been resolved, with a break-away Democratic faction joining with Republicans to form a new governing coalition that involves sharing the title of Temporary President of the Senate. 

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3:27pm

Mon December 3, 2012
Environment

Sandy sparks belief in climate change

A new poll finds that, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, more than two thirds of New Yorkers say they now believe in climate change.

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9:00am

Mon December 3, 2012
Politics and Government

Should Thruway Authority merge with transportation department?

The leader of the New York state Assembly Republicans is proposing to do away with the state’s Thruway Authority and merge it into the state Department of Transportation, in an attempt to avoid excessive toll hikes.

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8:54am

Mon December 3, 2012
Politics and Government

DEC: no fracking decision before health review is done

The Cuomo Administration says it will not be ruling on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York until an on-going health review is finished.  The delays have resulted in the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation having to open another public comment period, which begins December 12.

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5:08pm

Fri November 30, 2012
Politics and Government

Lt. Governor says Senate should put aside partisanship

New York’s Lieutenant Governor weighed in on the leadership fight going on in the state Senate, saying the senators should put aside partisanship and try to work together.  

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4:20am

Fri November 30, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo changes insurance rules to help Sandy victims

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is taking steps to speed up insurance claims processing after Superstorm Sandy. Cuomo says 360,000 Sandy victims have filed insurance claims for damage to their homes, cars and other property.  And he says insurance companies have not been quick enough to respond.

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5:49am

Thu November 29, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo claims he's staying out of fight for state Senate control

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is staying out of the on-going battle for control of the New York state Senate, maintaining that he will work with whoever ultimately wins the struggle.

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5:36am

Thu November 29, 2012
Politics and Government

Legal experts say fracking decision delay could be smart move

A legal expert says that the Cuomo administration’s move to delay for another 90 days the decision on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York makes sense. Meanwhile, some health care professionals say a review underway on the health effects of fracking is a sham.

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4:42am

Wed November 28, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo: State to miss fracking deadline on Thursday

The state’s environmental agency confirms it will miss a key deadline and delay approval of hydrofracking in New York once again. Anti-fracking forces see an opportunity in the new delay, while those waiting to benefit economically from the gas drilling process are feeling frustrated.

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9:46am

Tue November 27, 2012
Regional Coverage

Cuomo says Sandy costs reach $41 billion

Governor Andrew Cuomo says Hurricane Sandy caused more damage than Hurricane Katrina, and is now asking for $41 billion from the federal government. Cuomo says New York’s congressional delegation has promised the help.

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9:09am

Tue November 20, 2012
Politics and Government

Drillers impatient with slow pace of fracking review

Gas drilling companies in New York state says they’re “exhausted” by a more than four-year long review process on whether to allow hydrofracking in New York, that they say they now fear will drag on into 2013.

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5:42am

Tue November 20, 2012
Politics and Government

Advocates urge minimum wage hike

Advocates rally at the state Capitol against hunger and for a minimum wage hike
Karen DeWitt/WRVO

Advocates for a minimum wage hike rallied at the state Capitol Monday, amid growing signals that there might not be a special session to deal with the issue, or any items at all this year.

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5:49am

Mon November 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Study finds rich get richer, the rest decline

A union-funded think tank finds that New York has the greatest income disparity in the nation. The Fiscal Policy Institute says that trend continues, with the top one percent gaining more financial resources, while the middle class is falling behind and the numbers of the poor are growing.

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1:48pm

Fri November 16, 2012
Politics and Government

Leading Democratic state Senator says party should unite

A leading Democratic Senator says wayward Democrats should get in line with the others in their party, and form a majority to run the Senate when the new session starts in January. 

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9:18am

Fri November 16, 2012
Health

Health officials now say fracking health review nearly done

One day after saying they could not speculate on when a key health review on hydrofracking in New York would commence, the state health department has now announced three university experts have been chosen and will review the data.

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6:02am

Thu November 15, 2012
Politics and Government

Progress slow on fracking health review

Hydrofracking could once again be delayed in New York, unless the state Health Commissioner is able to complete requirements to contract with outside health experts and conduct a health review by November 29.

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9:19am

Wed November 14, 2012
Politics

NY Senate Republicans gain new recruit

Senate Republicans have gained one more member in the fight for control of the chamber. Newly elected Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder says he’ll sit with the GOP.

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4:14am

Wed November 14, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo launches probe of utilities companies

Governor Andrew Cuomo is launching a Moreland Act investigation into the state’s utilities companies, which he says he hopes will result in a complete overhaul of New York’s power distribution system.

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4:20pm

Tue November 13, 2012
Politics and Government

Thruway authority pulls back on toll hike vote for now

After canceling two meetings where a proposed 45 percent toll hike on trucks was believed to be voted on, the New York State Thruway Authority now says it needs more time to consider options before going ahead with the controversial proposal.

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4:01pm

Mon November 12, 2012
Politics and Government

Thruway Authority to meet after delay

The New York State Thruway Authority will hold a meeting Tuesday, after postponing a meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon. While there’s no official agenda, opponents of a toll hike on trucks believe the board will vote on the issue at the meeting.

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5:25am

Fri November 9, 2012
Politics

Thruway board expected to vote on truck toll hike

Jacob Enos Flickr

The New York State Thruway Authority has scheduled a board meeting for Friday afternoon.  There is no public agenda yet, but it is believed that the board will consider a 45 percent increase in truck tolls.

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