Karen DeWitt

Albany Reporter

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.

DeWitt 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 by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

DeWitt has served as a panelist for numerous political debates, including the 2014 gubernatorial debate sponsored by WNED|WBFO

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At a hearing held by the State Assembly on expanded voting, advocates argued that New York needs to join more than half of the other state who offer some kind of extended voting.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

Audio recordings released by the US Attorney’s office at the corruption trial of Senator Dean Skelos aim to show that the Senate Leader and his son colluded to use Skelo’s official position to help his son get employment.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

Uber and other ride sharing services are gearing up to win permission from the state legislature to operate in areas outside New York City. State Senators held a round table discussion of how to craft legislation.

The New York State legislature is seemingly back to business as usual. But  there has been little public discussion about a corruption crisis that has led to the two most powerful men in the legislature both on trial in federal court this month.

The state’s education commissioner says parents who are thinking of opting their children out of standardized tests again this school year should stick with the exams, because they will be different than last year’s tests. But the state’s teacher’s union and a parents group says the changes don’t go far enough.

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Governor Cuomo says he won’t allow a natural gas transfer station to be built off of the coast of Long Island, saying  there are too many concerns, including damage form future hurricanes, and potential terrorism.

The leaders of school districts, teachers unions,  and parents are presenting a united front in calling for $2.2 billion more school aid next year.  They say a hard property tax cap with a zero percent increase is making it even more crucial that state lawmakers help them out.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

As momentum for Governor Cuomo’s proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour grows, opponents are trying to fight back.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Republicans and Democrats in the State Senate both have victories to point to in last night’s election results.

A new proposal by the state ethics commission that could restrict campaign donations is raising some questions.

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There’s only one ​race for State Senate in Tuesday's elections, and that’s a special election for a State Senate seat in the Southern Tier. Polls show the Republican candidate far ahead.

credit nysut.org

Three quarters of school districts in the state have applied for waivers from the new teacher evaluation rules set out by Governor Cuomo and the legislature in March.

State lawmakers said a few years ago that they would  no longer permit the controversial member item program to continue, but  critics say the old system, which gave taxpayer money to legislators’ pet projects, is being revived in a new form.

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Governor Cuomo , five years into his term in office, has reached a plateau with voters. About half still like and support him, the other half,  have reservations.

Photo from Karen Dewitt

The ride sharing service Uber, which already operates in New York City, is making a big push to move into upstate and Long Island. But that would require state lawmakers to take action.

from Janet DiFiore.com

New York will soon have a new top judge, now that the current Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals is approaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.  Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore, a Cuomo ally, is on the list as a potential replacement.  

Karen DeWitt

The state’s ethics commission released the top spending lobbyists to try to influence state government during the 2015 legislative session, and found that education and real estate groups were the biggest spenders.

Hydro-fracking has been banned in New York State for nearly a year now,  but opponents of the natural gas extraction process have other concerns, including new pipelines.

Governor Cuomo has been speaking out about the need for national gun control laws in recent days, but Cuomo says he doesn’t know when a key provision of New York’s own gun safety laws will be enacted.

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Governor Cuomo, facing questions about the on going federal probe of contracts associated with his Buffalo Billion economic development project, was reluctant to say much about the progress of the investigation.

Jonny Moran

Governor Cuomo, who has been somewhat reticent about speaking out on the national stage, has lately been talking about the  issue of gun violence, saying it should be a key topic in Congress and in the 2016 campaigns.

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Questions continue about economic development practices by Governor Cuomo’s Administration, including the proposed sale of valuable piece of land from one state agency to another state entity for a dollar.

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Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says the Cuomo Administration is making an effort to hire more minority workers in new construction and jobs projects planned for around the state.

from Randy Credico Twitter account

A New York comedian who is also an activist on prison rights issues is drawing attention to the state’s practice of investing a small amount of its pension fund in the private prison industry.

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A new poll finds Governor Cuomo’s campaign for a phased in $15 an hour minimum wage is resonating among his base group of supporters. The Siena poll also finds the governor’s job approval rating is still at near record low levels.

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The push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is getting some help from union financed advertising, but it still has its opponents.

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A new poll finds that, for the first time, Hillary Clinton is viewed negatively by a slim majority of New Yorkers.

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​Governor Cuomo, in an address before the state’s business leaders,  promoted his economic development plans, including the Buffalo Billion initiative, and fended off questions on reports that some of the projects are under investigation by US Attorney Preet Bharara.

from Campbell Brown.com

The teachers union and its allies will protest outside the state’s annual Business Council meeting in Lake George on Wednesday.  The union is upset over a speech to be given by former CNN anchor and now charter school advocate Campbell Brown.

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Governor  Cuomo in the new legislative session will be  pushing for a bill to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour, but some say it could backfire and result in fewer jobs.