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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11:00am

Thu May 10, 2012
Regional Coverage

Cuomo calls President Obama's gay marriage support a 'major advancement'

Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Governor Cuomo, who won national praise and attention  for championing the passage of same sex marriage in New York, calls President Obama’s support of gay marriage a “major advancement for equal rights in this country."

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9:49am

Fri May 4, 2012
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo: Minimum wage hike is dubious

The Catholic Church is weighing in on raising the state’s minimum wage, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says the chances of an increase becoming law are "dubious."

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2:20pm

Thu May 3, 2012
Politics and Government

Governor says infrastructure panel will end a "bizarre" and "wasteful" situation

Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed his second blue ribbon panel of the week - this time to oversee infrastructure and capital projects including road and bridge repairs for the state.

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10:53am

Thu May 3, 2012
Regional Coverage

Anti-fracking claims the upper PR hand

Karen Dewitt

Anti-fracking groups presented Governor Andrew Cuomo with 200,000 signatures asking for a ban on the gas drilling process in New York,  and a state senator predicts  the opposition will  have an effect on the governor.

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10:35am

Wed May 2, 2012
Politics and Government

Parties squabble over campaign finance reform

-JvL- Flickr

Democrats and Republicans in the State Senate engaged in partisan squabbling over reform of the state’s campaign finance system.

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10:20am

Tue May 1, 2012
Education

Governor Cuomo creates panel on education

faungg via Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo named a blue ribbon commission to look at the problems facing education in New York, instructing them to come back with an “action plan” not a “theoretical document.”

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12:22pm

Mon April 30, 2012
Environment

The future of hydrofracking unclear in New York state

Natural gas drilling site in PA; August 2009
arimoore via Flickr; taken by Attorney Helen Slottje

Earth Day came and went in New York  without too much discussion of what many environmentalists believe to be the biggest issue facing the state- when and where the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking will  occur.

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9:49am

Fri April 27, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo shifts to new phase of government

Governor Cuomo cast further doubt on issues like campaign finance reform and increasing the states minimum wage to become law this year, and says he’s “shifting” to a new phase of governing instead.

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12:24pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo casts doubt on success of remaining session issues

Patja Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has some goals for the rest of the legislative session, including reforming the campaign finance system and possibly raising the state’s minimum wage.

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10:00am

Wed April 25, 2012
Politics and Government

Assembly introduces public campaign financing bill

-JvL- Flickr

The State Assembly has introduced a bill to permit voluntary public financing of some election campaigns for the first time in New York State.

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10:00am

Tue April 24, 2012
Politics

State GOP leaders look ahead to general election

davelawrence8 via Flickr

New York’s Presidential primary is Tuesday, but the initial excitement over the vote vanished when Rick Santorum dropped out earlier this month. State GOP leaders say they are looking ahead to the general election instead.

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11:57am

Fri April 20, 2012
Politics and Government

Presidential candidates skip state GOP dinner

The state Republican Party held it's annual dinner in New York City five days before the state's presidential primary. Only one of the remaining candidates was scheduled to speak at the dinner, and it wasn't Mitt Romney.

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4:19pm

Thu April 19, 2012
Politics and Government

Groups spend $1.5 million to push for campaign finance reform

With just two months left in the legislative session, advocates of campaign finance reform are pressing Governor Cuomo and the legislature to adopt a New York City style public financing system for the state.

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10:28am

Thu April 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Senate passes bill to legalize mixed martial arts

The effort to legalize mixed martial arts, also known as ultimate fighting, in New York, got a boost in the legislature Wednesday. The Senate passed a bill to legalize the sport, by a vote of 43 to 14, and the Speaker of the Assembly opened the door to possible approval in his house.

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10:21am

Thu April 19, 2012
Politics and Government

Senate Democrats press minimum wage hike

Democrats in the State Senate held a forum promoting a hike in the state’s minimum wage, while a conservative group says there’s already a government program in place that  boosts the earnings of low wage workers well above the current minimum standard.

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8:27am

Wed April 18, 2012
Politics and Government

Pro Choice Groups Seek Cuomo's Support on Reproductive Rights Law

Pro-choice advocates promoting the women’s reproductive health act say they are counting on Governor Andrew Cuomo to help the bill become law this year.

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7:44am

Thu April 12, 2012
Politics and Government

Cuomo vetoes member items

Governor Cuomo has vetoed over half a million dollars of legislative member items, saying he’s following through on a promise to ban the funds, which have been used in the past to finance lawmakers’ pet projects.

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7:24am

Tue March 27, 2012
Politics and Government

State Lawmakers hopeful for budget agreement by week's end

New York lawmakers are very optimistic about getting a budget done on time again this year. They say 99% of the state’s spending plan has been closed down, and they will pass bills before the end of the week.  

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7:06am

Fri March 23, 2012
Politics and Government

Lawmakers Leave For Weekend With Budget Unresolved

State lawmakers have abandoned the idea of completing a state budget one week ahead of schedule, legislators were due home in their districts late Thursday without agreement on a new spending plan.

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6:01am

Thu March 15, 2012
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo, Legislative leaders reach agreement on redistricting, other issues

The New York Senate and Assembly have approved new district lines, as Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced agreement on a number of other unrelated issues, including expansion of the state’s DNA data base, pension reform, and an amendment to allow more gambling in New York.  

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9:23am

Mon March 12, 2012
Politics and Government

Redistricting Amendment Scrutinized

State lawmakers have missed a deadline to come to an agreement on the redrawing of Congressional district lines, likely leaving a federal judge's plan as the one that will be instituted.

A State Assembly spokesman said Sunday night that an agreement could not be reached and they await the judge's revised plan, which is due out Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann's first draft removes Oswego County from Democrat Bill Owens's district. The county would be split, with half going to Republican Ann-Marie Buerkle and half going to fellow Republican Richard Hanna.

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7:15am

Thu February 16, 2012
Politics and Government

State Senate leader says bill to hold state primary in June will not pass

The Leader of the State Senate says an Assembly bill to hold state legislative primaries on June 26th is dead on arrival in his house, making it more likely that the state will hold three separate primaries this year.

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7:13am

Thu February 16, 2012
Politics and Government

Bipartisan coalition endorses Gov. Cuomo's plan for campaign finance reform

A new bi partisan coalition of former elected officials,  business and civic leaders, is endorsing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for campaign finance reform.  

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7:24am

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo attempts to take audit powers from State Comptroller

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s trying to make government more efficient by taking pre audit oversight powers away from the State’s Comptroller in his state budget proposal.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticized Cuomo’s proposal, saying the pre audits have saved millions of dollars by flagging potential problems in the contracts. Cuomo says he’s not taking away the comptroller’s authority but trying to speed up an inefficient procurement process. He says the Comptroller and others are simply resisting reform of what he says is an “historically dysfunctional government”.

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7:17am

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics and Government

State Assembly introduces bill to hold all state primaries in June

The New York State Assembly has introduced a bill to hold all of the state’s primary elections on June 26th, to correspond with a court order requiring that congressional primary contests be held then.  So far, the State Senate wants to hold the state primaries on a separate date, in late August.

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7:44am

Tue February 14, 2012
Politics and Government

State Senator Returns to work after Fight at Casino

Senator Mark Grisanti

A State Senator from Western New York was back at work at the State Capitol Monday, following an incident over the weekend at a Niagara Falls Indian Casino where he and his wife were involved in a fight.

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7:41am

Fri January 27, 2012
Politics and Government

State Legislature releases redistricted lines, Democrats not happy

The New York State legislature’s proposed redistricted lines have been finally been released to the public. The plans for Senate districts are drawing the most fire,  for the addition of a newly created 63rd district and configurations that pit some incumbent minority party Democrats against one another.

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7:46am

Wed January 25, 2012
Politics and Government

N.Y. Mayors testify in front of Legislative Budget Committee

Mayors from across the state came to the Capitol to testify to a joint legislative fiscal committee on Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget. While New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg went out of his way to offer support to the governor and for his budget plan, Mayors of upstate cities begged for a bail out. 

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8:22am

Tue January 24, 2012
Politics and Government

Anti-fracking protest at State Capitol draws hundreds

Actress Debra Winger at an anti-fracking rally in Albany Monday
Karen Dewitt

Actress Debra Winger and Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox were among hundreds of anti fracking protesters who descended upon the State Capitol Monday, in one of the largest demonstrations against the natural gas drilling process so far.

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7:45am

Mon January 23, 2012
Politics and Government

Gov. Cuomo introduces bill to legalize casino gambling in New York

Governor Cuomo has released a bill to amend the state’s constitution to legalize casino gambling in New York.

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