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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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.

New details are emerging on gun control legislation that lawmakers say could be passed as early as today.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO

Anti-fracking activists, including Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, attempted to present the state’s environmental agency with over 200,000 comments, on the last day of a public comment period on the gas drilling process.  They and other anti-fracking activists also tried to deliver a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State message, was widely perceived to have taken a leftward turn, with a priority list that includes gun control, abortion rights, and raising the minimum wage. The governor, though, says he hasn’t changed his ideology a bit.

Governor Cuomo Andrew dampened expectations for a quick settlement on a package of gun control bills, saying he does not have a timeline for agreement with the legislature.

Legislative leaders praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech, and say they are close to an agreement on one of the governor’s top priorities -- gun control legislation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his third State of the State message Wednesday asked lawmakers to help him “stop the madness,” and pass tough new anti gun legislation. Cuomo also focused on changes to better prepare for future "superstorms" and to approve a new women’s equality act.

Talks on gun control proposals between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature continued Tuesday night, on the eve of the governor’s annual State of the State speech.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State message at 1:30 pm Wednesday, he says he plans to pursue a “robust” agenda.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State message on Wednesday, it will include proposals for greater oversight of New York state’s electric utilities.

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.

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.

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). 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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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