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.

Pages

1:31am

Tue January 8, 2013
Politics and Government

Impasse between Cuomo and state Senate on gun measures

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Republicans in the Senate remain at an impasse over gun control legislation -- just days before the governor's State of the State address. Meanwhile, the state comptroller says he’s thinking of divesting the state’s pension fund from investments in gun manufacturers.

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8:04am

Fri January 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo will include disaster preparedness plans in State of the State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he intends to propose in his State of the State message several recommendations from a disaster preparedness commission, to help the state better cope with major storms in the future.

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9:48am

Thu January 3, 2013
Politics and Government

Report from state Health Department says fracking could be done safely

New York state has been reviewing whether to allowing hydrofracking for about four years.
Matt Richmond WSKG

A document from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration assessing the health impacts of hydrofracking, written less than a year ago, says the gas drilling process is likely safe if proper precautions are taken by the governor’s environmental agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). 

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9:19am

Thu January 3, 2013
Education

Cuomo education panel recommends more school time for children

Education commission chairman Dick Parsons presents recommendations to Governor Andrew Cuomo and his cabinet
Karen DeWitt/WRVO

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s education commission recommends extending the school day and school year, as well as all day pre-kindergarten. But the governor says those ideas could be expensive.

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5:43am

Mon December 31, 2012
Regional Coverage

NY's food pantries say hunger is growing

Food pantries and soup kitchens say they are reluctantly becoming a permanent part of the nation’s safety net for the poor. In a new report on New York’s charitable food distribution system, the groups say it is government that needs to step in and lend a helping hand.

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1:21pm

Fri December 21, 2012
Sports

Bills will play football in Buffalo for another 7 years

The Buffalo Bills will likely be staying in New York for at least another seven years, now that state and team officials have worked out a new deal.

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7:51am

Fri December 21, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo, legislature talk about gun control legislation

Credit Wallyg / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in talks with legislative leaders on a gun control package that he could introduce as part of his State of the State message on January 9.

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2:08pm

Wed December 19, 2012
Gambling

Cuomo: let market forces determine best gambling locations

In 2013, New Yorkers may get a chance to vote on whether they want to expand gambling in the state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the ballot proposal is unlikely to name which cities may build new casinos, though.

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7:16am

Wed December 19, 2012
Education

Cuomo takes hard line on teacher evaluation plans

Twenty-seven schools in New York have not yet submitted a teacher evaluation plan.
Credit Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Just two-thirds of school districts in New York state have completed new teacher evaluation plans, one month before a deadline imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor says if the rest don’t finish on time, they won’t see any increased school aid next year.

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8:57am

Tue December 18, 2012
Government

Cuomo calls for tighter federal gun control

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says federal gun laws need to be strengthened to prevent more shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn., but he says New York state’s assault weapons ban has loopholes that need to be closed too.

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6:01pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Regional Coverage

Thruway cancels plans to raise tolls on trucks

The New York Thruway Authority has canceled plans to raise tolls.
Credit Jacob Enos / Flickr

Updated: Tues. 2:55 p.m. with correction.

The New York Thruway Authority has rescinded a controversial 45 percent truck toll hike proposal, saying it intends to cut costs instead.

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4:33pm

Fri December 14, 2012
Regional Coverage

NY leaders react to Newtown shooting, call for gun measures

Governor Andrew Cuomo is pledging to work for gun control in the wake of the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown Connecticut, calling it “yet another senseless and horrific act of violence involving guns.”

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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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