Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Correspondent

 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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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New Yorkers who use the state Thruway will have a bit of a wait before more cashless tolling is installed on the nearly 500-mile tolled portion of the road.

The Cuomo administration’s Thruway Authority has adopted cashless tolls at the new Tappan Zee Bridge and will take down the toll booths on the Grand Island Bridge in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area early next year.

There already is an option for cashless tolling at the Woodbury exit of the Thruway in the lower Hudson Valley, although toll booths still exist as an alternative.

The state Board of Regents is taking steps to make it easier for teachers to become certified in New York. But the state education commissioner denies that it’s a lessening of requirements.

GOVERNOR.NY.GOV

ALBANY (WSKG) - Andrew Cuomo, in what has become an annual event for the New York governor, led a motorcycle ride along the path of a New York City firefighter rescue team to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Mike Groll / AP Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner received a grilling from state senators at a hearing this week on whether New York is doing enough to combat tick-borne illnesses.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker told the senators that this year, there are fewer deer ticks and fewer reported cases of Lyme disease in the state.

But, he said, the number of Lone Star ticks is up. They can carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and even cause someone to become allergic to eating red meat.

New York NOW

A former EPA administrator and a former New York state health department official have teamed up with a Vermont college to conduct a health survey of people potentially affected by polluted water in the villages of Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, and in Bennington, Vermont. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News.

A left-leaning group is asking the state’s top politicians to give back donations from a hedge fund manager who made racially charged comments against New York’s only black female legislative leader. But so far, most — including Gov. Andrew Cuomo — have held on to the money. 

Daniel Loeb, the founder and chief executive of the multi-billion-dollar hedge fund Third Point LLC, received attention when, in a Facebook post, he compared the leader of the state Senate Democrats, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, to the Ku Klux Klan.

sayholatotravis / Flickr


The State University of New York board members overseeing charter schools are in the midst of a public comment period on whether charter school teachers should be allowed to have fewer qualifications than public school teachers.

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to open on Thursday the first span of the new Thruway bridge over the Hudson River, known as the Tappan Zee Bridge and to be renamed the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge.

But questions still linger over how, ultimately, the bridge will be paid for.

Cuomo has been reluctant to divulge details on how the tolls on the bridge will be affected after the multi-billion-dollar project to replace the over three-mile-long span is completed.

Fort Worth Squatch / Flickr


The results of this year’s Common Core-related standardized tests show scores for New York’s schoolchildren inching up. 

audiolucistore / Flickr

Teachers across New York State are gearing up for the start of the new school year. However, the President of the state’s teachers union - New York State United Teachers’ Andy Pallotta - said controversy over the Common Core learning standards is not quite over yet.

Karen DeWitt

 

Carl Paladino has been removed from the Buffalo Board of Education in a ruling by the state education commissioner issued Thursday.

Charles Lane / WSHU

New Yorkers who sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act exchanges for individuals will see their premiums rise by an average of 14 percent, now that the Cuomo administration has approved rate increases for insurers in the exchanges.

Part of the increase is due to worries and uncertainties over the future of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

Mike Groll / AP Photo

There’s growing pressure on a group of breakaway Democrats in the state Senate to reunite with the mainstream Democrats and form a majority to rule the Senate. 

At a rally in Harlem, many of the state’s top African-American politicians, chanting “Andrea, Andrea,” voiced their support for the current leader of Senate Democrats, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, to become the majority leader of the Senate.

Mike Groll / AP Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a measure that would create new penalties for people who make bomb threats against community centers. The action stems from bomb threats made to Jewish community centers in New York and around the nation last winter. 

Karen DeWitt / WXXI

The U.S. Senate plans to use procedural maneuvers to technically stay in session even when senators eventually go home for the Labor Day recess. Their intent is to prevent President Donald Trump from making any unwelcome recess appointments while they are away.

New York Now

The former EPA regional administrator under President Barack Obama said scientists who leaked the report about further evidence of climate change to The New York Times should be commended as“whistleblowers.” 

AndrewRosenthal / Flickr

The New York Board of Elections quietly voted this week to turn over some data about New York’s voters to a Trump administration panel looking at whether there was mass voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.

Sam Kmack / New York NOW

The often-reticent New York Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, showed a different side of himself when the lifelong Star Trek fan visited a museum in New York’s North Country that replicates the fictional Starship Enterprise. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed more details this week about how the newly named Mario Cuomo Bridge on the Thruway over the Hudson River will be financed.

We know that the former Tappan Zee Bridge will be replaced by the new Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge, in honor of the current governor’s late father. But we don’t know the final price tag of the project, which spans the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

ALBANY (WSKG) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his first remarks since President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he was banning transgender people from the military, condemned the action as “terrible" and “hateful,” and said it is contrary to American values. 

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Planned Parenthood leaders in New York are anxiously monitoring the actions in the Republican-led Congress to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and they say in all versions, their health care centers face big reductions.

Robin Chappelle Golston with Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, the lobby group for the state's Planned Parenthood clinics, is watching the attempts to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare, with trepidation.

She said it’s hard to follow, and she thinks that’s deliberate.

Senate Democrats / Flickr

The Senate is moving ahead on the repeal and possibly the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and policy makers in New York are bracing for the worst.

whiteafrican / Flickr


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a series of what he calls “aggressive actions” to expand voter registration, saying he wants to “help combat low voter participation” amid “troubling” attempts by the federal government that might restrict voter access. But a nearly century-old voting rights organization said the governor did not go far enough.

governorandrewcuomo/Flickr

The future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain in Washington, and there are several scenarios under consideration.  

governorandrewcuomo/Flickr

ALBANY (WSKG) - At an event Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo defined the conflict over changing the health care laws in Washington as a class struggle, saying it’s all about the rich versus the rest. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

  


Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s name has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, but first, he may be facing some obstacles to win a third term as governor in 2018.

Richard Drew / AP Photo

  


The second voter survey in two weeks shows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job approval rating plummeting to a near record low. 

Mary Altaffer / AP Photo

New York’s top elected Democrats rallied against the Republican Congress’ proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying they will take legal action, if necessary, to stop it. 

azipaybarah / Flickr

The corruption conviction of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was overturned Thursday on a technicality by a federal appeals court.

Richard Drew / AP Photo

ALBANY (WSKG) A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s popularity has dipped to a near record low, and the reason could be dissatisfaction in New York City over the governor’s handling of the mass transit system.

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