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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9:37am

Thu August 2, 2012
Politics and Government

Comptroller: Local governments face grim fiscal reality

A report from the state comptroller finds local governments in New York are struggling financially. Around 10 percent are running deficits or suffering from cash flow problems, and there is no end in sight.

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9:51am

Wed August 1, 2012
Politics and Government

New disclosure rules won't include past donors

A New York state ethics board has ruled that lobby groups, including one closely allied with Governor Andrew Cuomo, will not have to retroactively disclose their donors. The proposed new regulations will require that in the future, contributions of over $5000 for the Committee to Save New York and other groups will have to be made public.
 

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11:49am

Tue July 31, 2012
Politics and Government

Promise of transparency plagues Governor Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo began his term in office promising that he would run one of the most transparent and open governments in New York state history. But, eighteen months into his term, news stories relating to Cuomo's perceived lack of transparency in government have proliferated.

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6:08pm

Fri July 20, 2012
Politics and Government

NY Senate Democrats hopeful for November

A recent poll offers some hope to Senate Democrats who are trying retake the Senate after losing to Republicans two years ago, but the GOP says they are far from worried.
 

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8:35am

Wed July 18, 2012
Regional Coverage

Business group asks for audit of Thruway Authority

A business group is asking the New York State Thruway Authority to delay a proposed 45 percent increase in truck tolls and conduct an audit of the authority’s finances instead.

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4:05pm

Tue July 17, 2012
Regional Coverage

Poll: New Yorkers support health care law but feel costs will rise

Most New Yorkers agree with the recent Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama’s health care reform, but most think the new law, when fully implemented, will cause health care costs to rise.

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9:20am

Tue July 17, 2012
Regional Coverage

Is NY open for business?

Governor Andrew Cuomo is running television ads proclaiming New York’s business friendliness, but a recent set of rankings finds the state dead last in that category. The truth likely lies somewhere in between.

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9:33am

Mon July 16, 2012

8:53am

Fri July 13, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo's endorsements of state senators remain up in the air

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not necessarily endorse Democrats for election to the closely divided New York state Senate, even though he’s a Democrat. He says he’ll consider candidates on a case by case basis. That stance gives the politically savvy governor a number of options.

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9:51am

Thu July 12, 2012
Politics and Government

Business coalition opposes proposed Thruway toll hike

Jacob Enos Flickr

A coalition of business groups is opposing a proposed 50 percent toll hike for trucks on the New York State Thruway, saying it will have a drastic impact on manufacturing, farming, and many other industries.    

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8:56am

Thu July 12, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo on campaign finance reform

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is starting a new effort to push campaign finance reform in New York’s elections.

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9:29am

Wed July 11, 2012
Politics and Government

Governor Cuomo offers some support for limited fracking

Governor Andrew Cuomo offered some support to a plan to permit hydrofracking in New York in communities that welcome the gas drilling process.

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9:22am

Wed July 11, 2012
Education

Cuomo's education panel hears complaints

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Commission on Education Reform got an earful at a public hearing held at the state Capitol today, as speaker after speaker complained about a statewide school system that they say is in disarray.

Speakers voiced a litany of complaints to the commission, ranging from over-testing of students, excessive teacher bashing, and school districts drowning in debt.

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7:56am

Tue July 10, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo signs anti-cyber bullying law

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an anti-cyber bullying bill into law Monday. It requires schools to be more vigilant about cyber bullying of students, and to take steps to prevent it.

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9:05am

Tue July 3, 2012
Politics and Government

State legislature approves historically low number of bills

According to an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group, the 2012 session resulted in 571 pieces of legislation approved by both houses of the New York state legislature.  

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9:42am

Mon July 2, 2012
Education

Many school districts to miss teacher evaluation deadline

An important deadline in the state’s ongoing teacher evaluation process occurred Sunday, but most schools reported they would miss it.  

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10:19am

Fri June 29, 2012
Politics and Government

The Affordable Care Act: Reaction from New York politicians and healthcare professionals

Health care advocates celebrate with cake at a rally at the state Capitol.
Karen Dewitt NYS Public Radio

New York’s politicians and major health care providers are largely applauding the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law.  Meanwhile, an Albany Law School expert says Chief Justice John Roberts may have been concerned about his legacy, and that was a factor in his decision.

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9:36am

Thu June 28, 2012
Politics and Government

End of session: Mixed results for Governor Cuomo

The just concluded 2012 legislative session brought mixed results for Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is in his second year as governor.  While Cuomo and lawmakers could claim credit for a calm and functional end to the session,  the governor had to drop some of his original goals  in order for that to happen.

Cuomo’s second legislative session was far less dramatic than his first legislative session in 2011, when he convinced the legislature to authorize same sex marriage, instate a two percent property tax cap, and close a massive $10 billion budget deficit.

In his second session, the governor’s record of achieving his stated goals was not as complete.

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9:45am

Tue June 26, 2012

5:29pm

Fri June 22, 2012
Education

State legislature approves Cuomo's teacher evaluation plan

Thomas Favre-Bulle via Flickr

Cuomo’s proposal to make teacher evaluations public will become law, now that the Senate and Assembly passed the measure on the final day of the legislative session.

Senate Republicans, after a closed door meeting, agreed to take up Gov. Cuomo’s bill to make all evaluations public, without names attached.

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9:55am

Fri June 22, 2012
Politics and Government

Albany legislative session comes to an end

The state legislature ended their 2012 session Thursday evening as lawmakers had promised, but they did not manage to finish everything on their list before they left.

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9:42am

Thu June 21, 2012
Politics and Government

Some issues left hanging as session ends

The legislative session that’s concluding in Albany seems to be more about what’s not getting done than what is getting accomplished. Agreements were not reached on several key issues.

Governor Andrew Cuomo at this time last year was intensely lobbying lawmakers to pass a bill to legalize gay marriage. This year, he has taken a more hands-off approach to the end of the current legislative session.

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10:13am

Wed June 20, 2012
Politics and Government

End of session: No action on bill to decriminalize marijuana

A bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana appears dead for the legislative session, now that Republicans in the Senate say they won’t be acting on the bill.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says it’s “highly unlikely” that his bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana will be taken up by the Senate before the legislative session ends on Thursday, and Senate Leader Dean Skelos confirms that.

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9:55am

Wed June 20, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo offers teacher evaluation bill with no compromises

James F Clay Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo is telling the legislature to "take it or leave it" over a new bill he’s released outlining how to make teacher evaluations public.

Cuomo says he introduced  legislation on the publication of teacher evaluations just before his own self-imposed deadline of midnight Monday in order to clarify his position on the issue.  He says it’s up to the Assembly and Senate whether they want to pass it, exactly as is, or not.

“That’s the bill, the bill is not going to change,” said Cuomo. “They act on it or they don’t. But there’s not going to be changes and discussions at this time.”

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9:35am

Tue June 19, 2012
Education

No agreement in Albany on teacher evaluations, so far

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he no longer thinks settling the issue of making teacher evaluations public is “urgent,” and will allow the legislature to leave later this week without an agreement on the matter.

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10:00am

Mon June 18, 2012
Health

Tanning limited for teens in New York state

Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to limit the use of tanning beds by teenagers.

The bill will ban children 16 years and under from going to tanning salons. Seventeen-year-olds will still be allowed to use tanning beds with written permission from their parents.

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9:20am

Fri June 15, 2012
Regional Coverage

Pro, anti fracking advocates clash in Albany

Supporters and opponents of a plan to allow limited hydrofracking in New York’s Southern Tier region confronted each other at the state Capitol .

For months, the Cuomo administration has been signaling that it might permit the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking in a few areas in the Marcellus Shale region where the majority of people in communities want the gas drilling process to begin.

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10:19am

Thu June 14, 2012
Politics and Government

State Senate forum questions status of big business advocacy group

A hearing by New York Senate Democrats explored the influence of the controversial lobby group known as ALEC in New York State. Those who testified say more light needs to shine on the secretive group and even urged the state ethics commission to start an investigation.

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9:25am

Tue June 12, 2012
Regional Coverage

Eight session days left, many issues unresolved

New York state lawmakers plan on leaving Albany for the summer on June 21, but they continue to be gridlocked on the issues of raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour, and offering tax breaks to small businesses as an incentive to create more jobs.

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10:18am

Fri June 8, 2012
Regional Coverage

Committee to Save New York controversy overshadows ethics hearing

Sue Lerner of Common Cause testifies at JCOPE hearing as Chairwoman Janet DiFiore listens
Karen DeWitt/WRVO

A lobbying group closely associated with Governor Andrew Cuomo was the elephant in the room during a hearing by the state ethics commission on new rules for donor disclosure.

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