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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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.
 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A leading budget watchdog group is urging rejection of a key component of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget plan. It would allow cities and schools to put off some payments to their pension funds.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made several changes to his budget plan in what are called 30-day amendments. These amendments range from imposing a teacher evaluation plan on schools in New York City, to cutting the cost of hunting licenses.

A group pressing for public campaign financing has compiled a list of large corporations who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to some New York lawmakers. They charge that the donations are preventing the legislature from closing what they say are corporate tax loopholes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will make several changes to his budget using 30 day amendments, including imposing a teacher evaluation plan on New York City, and cutting the cost of hunting licenses.

New York state's largest teachers union has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s property tax cap, arguing it is unconstitutional.

A government reform group is calling for a state ethics panel report to be made public, one day after the panel investigating charges against Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) sent a report to the legislative ethics committee.

A February deadline on New York’s process to allow hydrofracking will be missed, with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Health Commissioner now saying he needs more time to complete an on-going health study.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Court of Appeals nominee was approved in the New York State Senate on a voice vote, after an unusually contentious process.

As they await Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision on whether fracking will go forward in New York, dueling pro- and anti-fracking filmmakers held screenings and promotions for their films in Albany. At one point in their visit, the two sides confronted each other in the halls of the Capitol.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s championing of strict new gun control laws in New York state has taken a toll on his popularity. A new poll finds that for the first time since taking office, Cuomo’s approval rating has dropped significantly.

State Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos says he’s strongly opposed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act, saying it would lead to too many late-term abortions. Pro-choice lawmakers and advocates say they disagree with the senator’s interpretation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pension stabilization plan could face some obstacles in the legislature.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he wants to know what the state comptroller thinks of the idea first.

Mayors from around the state came to complain about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget, as the first day of legislative hearings on the spending plan kicked off in Albany. Upstate mayors, in particular, have concerns about ever growing pension payments.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to have a no-drama budget this year, with a low-key presentation and a fiscally austere spending plan -- and no major cuts or new taxes. But, growing opposition from the teachers’ union and local governments may yet result in some sparks flying before the deal is settled in late March.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed raising the minimum wage as part of his budget plan, even though the increase would not cost New York State any money.  That tactic might make it easier for the proposal to become law.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $142 billion state budget, that includes federal aid for post Superstorm Sandy recovery, and closes a $1.3 billion dollar budget gap.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s annual budget presentation is slated for Tuesday afternoon. It comes as the state’s comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, finds revenues are not coming to New York in quite the amount anticipated.   

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for a Women’s Equality Act has been praised by many legislators and women’s groups. But not everybody is applauding.

A new poll finds voters overwhelming support for many of the items that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing, including parts of the newly enacted gun control law. 

Mental health advocates have some concerns over portions of the gun control laws approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature this week.

The experimental governing coalition in the New York State Senate passed its first test, on the first full day of session, when senators approved a sweeping gun control package urged by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo swiftly signed New York’s new sweeping anti-gun measures into law, just minutes after the Assembly finished an over four-hour long debate and voted for the bills.  

The New York state legislature is passing the toughest in the nation gun control laws laid out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Senate voted late Monday evening , and the Assembly is expected to act Tuesday morning.

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