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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9:07am

Wed September 26, 2012
Politics

Cuomo says "extremists" challenged pro-gay marriage GOP senators

Both pro- and anti-gay marriage forces are claiming victory after a split primary result in two key state senate races. Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo says two pro-same sex marriage Republican senators who survived primary challengers were targeted by “extremists” within the GOP.

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9:03am

Tue September 25, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo says health study could speed up fracking decision

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he supports his administration’s internal health review on hydrofracking in New York, and he says it could even hasten the gas drilling process in the state, should fracking ultimately be approved.

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9:27am

Mon September 24, 2012
Politics and Government

Health impact study on fracking raises questions

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s environmental commissioner announcement that he is rejecting calls for an independent health analysis of hydrofracking has left more questions than answers. Commissioner Joe Martens says he will conduct an internal health review instead.

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9:11am

Fri September 21, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo's environmental agency to study fracking's health impact

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s environmental commissioner is rejecting calls by environmentalists for an independent health impact study on hydrofracking. But  Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens, says the state’s health commissioner has agreed to conduct a review.

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9:48am

Mon September 17, 2012
Politics and Government

Group sees thruway meeting delay as hopeful sign

The New York State Thruway Board has not yet scheduled a new meeting, after postponing their most recent gathering. The Thruway Authority is considering a toll hike on trucks. Opponents of the toll increase see the delay as a good sign.

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8:01am

Sat September 15, 2012
Politics and Government

State ethics board impeded by secrecy rules

New York state’s ethics board is coming under criticism as it launches an investigation that is believed to focus on a sexual harassment scandal in the Assembly. The secrecy rules imposed in the laws governing the commission are causing some unanticipated problems. 

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7:00am

Thu September 13, 2012
Politics and Government

Poll shows increased support for fracking

The natural gas industry sees hopeful signs in a new poll that finds more New Yorkers now support hydrofracking. A Quinnipiac University survey also finds upstate New Yorkers, some who live where the gas drilling process would occur, back fracking in greater numbers.

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7:04am

Tue September 11, 2012
Politics and Government

Ethics panel launches probe

A unanimous state ethics board appears to launch a full investigation into the Assembly’s sexual harassment scandal.  The vote followed an acrimonious meeting, where commissioners appointed by the Assemblys peaker demanded a public discussion of the deliberations, and called the governor’s threats to open his own investigation “coercive.”  

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1:06pm

Thu September 6, 2012
Politics and Government

NY GOP use Democrats' words against them

The New York State Republican Party is turning a familiar Democratic Party accusation back against the Assembly Democrats, who are involved in a sexual harassment scandal. 

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9:01am

Thu September 6, 2012
Politics and Government

Assembly holds hearing on Thruway Toll Hike Plan

The first of two Assembly hearings on the New York State Thruway Authority’s proposed truck toll increase was held in Albany Wednesday.

Several Assembly Republicans, who are in the minority party in that house, held a hearing on the 45 percent toll increase for trucks proposed by the Cuomo administration’s Thruway Authority.

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9:02am

Wed September 5, 2012
Politics and Government

JCOPE meets; won't confirm investigation

The state ethics board held a closed door meeting Tuesday. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, is believed to be discussing whether to investigate Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and possibly the Assembly Speaker, over a sexual harassment scandal.

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10:09am

Fri August 31, 2012
Politics and Government

Ethics panel calls special meeting

The state’s ethics board has called a special meeting immediately after Labor Day. The news comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo and others have called for an investigation of a sexual harassment scandal in the State Assembly.

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10:02am

Fri August 31, 2012
Politics and Government

State's finances deemed to be improving

401(K) 2012 Flickr

There are signs that the New York state’s finances are getting healthier, but local governments in New York continue to flounder.

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9:06am

Thu August 30, 2012
Politics and Government

Assembly Speaker Silver says he welcomes ethics probe

A rare apology from one of New York’s most powerful Democratic leaders regarding a payout to alleged victims of sexual harassment is raising even more questions at the state Capitol. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he welcomes an impending ethics probe.  

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8:48am

Tue August 28, 2012
Regional Coverage

Anti-fracking activists rally in Albany

Environmentalist Bill McKibben speaking at the hydraulic fracturing protest in Albany Monday.
Karen Dewitt WRVO

Anti-fracking advocates rallied in Albany Monday to try to convince Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban the natural gas drilling process in New York state.  Meanwhile, a state Senator says he believes any final decision will be once again delayed.

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8:47am

Thu August 23, 2012
Regional Coverage

Groups for and against fracking wait for governor's decision

Groups for and against hydrofracking are gearing up for an announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s environmental officials  on whether the natural gas drilling process will be permitted in New York on a limited basis. But, the organizations, who are running ads, may have to wait a little longer.

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9:14am

Wed August 22, 2012
Regional Coverage

Business Council says NY legislators more business friendly

The Business Council of New York released its annual report card of the state's legislators, and the group gave New York Senate Republicans high marks for approving a pro-business agenda.

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8:00am

Sun August 19, 2012
Politics and Government

Governor Cuomo takes a back seat at National Convention

Governor Andrew Cuomo is one of many New York politicians who have chosen to scale back their participation in the national Democratic convention in North Carolina. While the others are Democrats seeking re-election in Congress, Cuomo is eschewing what could have been a prime time speaking slot.  

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9:30am

Thu August 16, 2012
Regional Coverage

Yogurt summit results in regulation change

Karen Dewitt WRVO

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he is loosening some environmental regulations so that dairy farmers can more easily own more cows. The news came at the first ever yogurt summit convened by Cuomo at the state Capitol.

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9:34am

Wed August 15, 2012
Politics and Government

Paul Ryan's impact on NY House races debated

Gage Skidmore Flickr

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate will impact New York’s competitive House races. But whether the effect will be good or bad depends on who you talk to.

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9:28am

Tue August 14, 2012
Politics and Government

State GOP chairman: Paul Ryan will "play well" in NY races

The head of the New York state Republican Party predicts that the choice of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate will be helpful in some portions of New York state.

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10:00am

Mon August 13, 2012
Politics and Government

Governor Andrew Cuomo has chance to remake state's highest court

wadester16 Flickr

In the next couple of years, Governor Andrew Cuomo may have the chance to shape the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, as several judges reach the end of their terms or the mandatory retirement age. It’s an opportunity no New York governor has had in a generation.

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8:01am

Sat August 11, 2012
Politics and Government

Public nursing homes face potential crisis

County-run nursing homes across New York state face growing crises as county governments, strapped for cash, consider ending their historical role as providers of inpatient care to the elderly.

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10:12am

Fri August 10, 2012
Health

New York state gets failing grades for anti-smoking programs

Dale M Moore Flickr

The American Cancer Society has given New York state a mixed report card when it comes to cancer prevention. The group says the most glaring error is the lack of investment in anti-smoking campaigns.

The American Cancer Society has issued its annual report card, rating states on how well they are doing to prevent cancer through encouraging cancer screenings, banning smoking from public places, and smoking prevention programs.

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9:18am

Thu August 9, 2012
Regional Coverage

Cuomo says he'll focus on gun control

Governor Andrew Cuomo says curbing gun violence will be a priority in the next legislative session.

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10:07am

Tue August 7, 2012
Politics and Government

State says Medicaid waiver will "transform" New York's health care

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s aides announced Monday they are asking the federal government for a Medicaid waiver that they say will help make the state a “national model” for health care.

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9:43am

Tue August 7, 2012
Politics and Government

State Senator to introduce new gun laws

francesandrew Flickr

In the wake of increased gun violence in New York and two mass shootings in the nation in the last few weeks, a State Senator is proposing stricter gun laws that he says could give New York the toughest gun laws in the country.

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4:10pm

Mon August 6, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo defends transparency record

Governor Andrew Cuomo defended his administration against criticisms that he has not been transparent enough, saying he’s trying to do more.

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4:16pm

Fri August 3, 2012
Regional Coverage

New York state cracks down on sex offenders

Aides to Governor Andrew Cuomo have announced new crackdowns on sex offenders that will require some convicts on parole to renew their photos every 90 days if their appearance has changed.

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9:17am

Fri August 3, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo defends ethics panel decision on retroactivity

Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to defend a decision by a state ethics board to keep secret the names of donors to a lobbying group that is a key ally of the governor. 

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