Karen DeWitt

Albany Reporter

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Local
4:49 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Speaker Heastie earns mixed reviews in budget process

The recently completed state budget was the first real test of the new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s leadership, who became the leader of that house in early February. 

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Focus on Education
4:48 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Test boycott may carry repercussions

Governor Cuomo and the state legislature approved some significant changes to the state’s education system and how teachers are evaluated going forward. But, before all that can be implemented ,the new system faces a big test, literally, later this month.

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Local
4:40 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Reformers question loopholes in new ethics law

Dick Dadey of Citizens Union calls the new ethics laws "underwhelming and uninspiring."
Credit WBFO File Photo

The New York legislature completed an almost on time budget, around 3 a.m. on the first day of the state’s fiscal year. One of the final pieces to come together was an ethics reform package, which will provide greater disclosure of lawmaker’s outside income. But critics say it does not go far enough.

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Local
5:04 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Cuomo agenda comes up short in final budget

Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Credit File Photo / WBFO News

Governor Cuomo began the budget season with an ambitious agenda than included a wide array of items that he tied to the budget, including raising the minimum wage, the Dream Act, and reforming the state’s grand jury process. In the end, the governor was forced to retrench on nearly every measure.

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Local
8:41 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Budget framework deal announced

Credit WBFO News File Photo

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a framework agreement for a budget deal late Sunday night and hope to begin passing bills Monday to meet the midnight Tuesday deadline.

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Local
4:49 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Budget battle focuses of education spending, minimum wage

Teachers flood the capital to protest Governor Cuomo's education policies.
Credit Photo from Karen Dewitt

The state Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo continue to work on sticking points in the state budget, as yet another item has now been dropped from the spending plan, raising the state’s minimum wage.

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Focus on Education
4:51 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Commission may be named to resolve budget impasse

Governor Cuomo and the legislature are considering a  commission to design a new teacher evaluation plan, in order to break an impasse over the state budget. But even some lawmakers admit that the compromise is just kicking the can down the road.

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Local
4:35 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Budget shrinks as more items dropped from spending plan

Senator Jose Peralta talks of his disappointment and anger that the Dream Act will not be included in the budget
Credit Photo from Karen Dewitt

Governor Cuomo and the legislature are making progress on the budget. Cuomo, after a private meeting with Senate Republicans, says he’s closer to an agreement on ethics reform, but the governor is getting some criticism for dropping some items out of the budget, including the Dream Act.

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Local
4:37 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Tensions build as budget deadline approaches

New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is at the center of tense budget negotiations.
Credit WBFO File Photo

There’s just about a week and a half left before the budget deadline, and Governor Cuomo and lawmakers remain at odds over a number of issues, including whether ethics disclosure rules should apply to Governor Cuomo as well as the legislature.

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Local
5:05 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Cuomo dealing with ethics reform, falling poll numbers

Credit WBFO File Photo

Governor Cuomo and the Speaker of the Assembly say they hope the State Senate will sign on to their joint proposal for ethics reform, as a new poll finds the governor with dropping job approval numbers.

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Focus on Education
4:45 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Education tax credit sparks debate

Credit WBFO File Photo

One of the most polarizing issues in Governor Cuomo’s budget is an education tax credit that would allow donors of up to one million dollars to public and private schools to receive a tax benefit. Opponents say it benefits the rich, supporter say it helps poor children.

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Local
4:34 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Changes made to Women's Equality legislation

State lawmakers are moving ahead with approving some portions of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, now that  supporters are no longer demanding that all of the items, including an abortion rights provision, be tied together.

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Local
4:42 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Stewart Cousins excluded from budget discussions

Credit WBFO File Photo

Pressure is mounting to include Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, the only female legislative leader, in the closed-door budget meeting with Governor Cuomo that now consists of four men in a room.

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Local
4:32 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Heastie shares frustrations in first broadcast interview

New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie speaks with WBFO Albany correspondent Karen Dewitt.
Credit Photo from Karen Dewitt

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie gave his first broadcast interview to public radio and television. In it, he expressed his frustrations over Governor Cuomo’s decision to link numerous unrelated items to the state budget.

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Local
5:12 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Cuomo could face legal action over budget

Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

The state budget might end up in court under some scenarios, as state lawmakers are discussing possible legal action against Governor Cuomo’s budget, and his proposal to link a number of unrelated items, like ethics reform and education changes, to the spending plan. 

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Focus on Education
9:00 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Thousands rally for more charter schools

Credit Photo from Karen Dewitt

It was the charter schools’ turn to rally at the State Capitol Wednesday in support of Governor Cuomo’s proposal to allow 100 more charter schools in New York.

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Local
5:02 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Questions surround use of state budget surplus

Governor Cuomo outlined budget successes during his State of the State speech.
Credit WBFO File Photo

Governor Cuomo is taking credit for the state budget’s turn around from huge gaps to healthy surpluses, but a watchdog group says  Cuomo is relying on future funds that have not yet materialized .

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Focus on Education
4:41 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Hundreds of teachers rally in Albany

Teachers voiced their thoughts on Governor Cuomo's education reforms on Monday.
Credit Photo from Karen Dewitt

Hundreds of teachers are rallied at the State Capitol late Monday, saying they are calling out Cuomo for what they say is his anti-public school agenda.

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Focus on Education
4:53 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Teachers to rally against Cuomo's proposals

Governor Cuomo will be the target of an education rally in Albany today.
Credit WBFO File Photo

Teachers have been holding rallies all around the state protesting Governor Cuomo’s education proposals, and hundreds are expected to converge on the Capitol Monday to protest over reliance on standardized tests, and other issues.

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Local
4:39 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Heastie focused on passage of Dream Act

Carl Heastie is setting his agenda as the new Speaker of the Assembly.
Credit WBFO File Photo

Newly elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie made clear one of his top priorities in his first news conference, where he called for passage of the Dream Act, which would offer college aid to children of undocumented immigrants.

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Local
4:48 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Leaders under scrutiny as budget process begins

Budget talks began Wednesday, as Governor Cuomo met behind closed doors with legislative leaders to discuss school aid, economic development proposals and ethics reform. Cuomo’s push to reform practices in the legislature comes at a time when his nearly $1 million book deal is coming under closer scrutiny.

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Local
4:57 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Poll examines voters' priorities on ethics issue

Governor Cuomo has repeatedly threatened to hold up the state budget over ethics reform and other issues, like education policy. Now, a poll finds that voters would rather that the budget be on time.

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Local
4:45 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Reformers say Cuomo's ethics proposals don't go far enough

Credit File Photo / WBFO News

Governor Cuomo has outlined his plan for greater transparency of state lawmakers’ outside income, and has made it part of his budget proposal. Good government groups say they wish he had gone farther.

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Local
8:39 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Critics look to end Albany's "three men in a room"

Sheldon Silver's legal troubles may change the way legislative business is conducted in Albany.
Credit WBFO File Photo

The traditional style of budget making in New York, known as "three men in a room," is coming under criticism, by among others, the US Attorney currently investigating corruption at the Capitol.  Some are wondering whether it’s time to end the secretive practice.

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Local
4:53 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Albany debates education tax credit

Governor Cuomo's proposed education tax credit is creating debate in Albany.
Credit WBFO File Photo

Supporters of Governor Cuomo’s education tax credit were at the Capitol to persuade lawmakers that the credit, which would benefit donors to private and charter schools, should be approved as part of the state budget.

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Local
4:40 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Outside income debate continues in Albany

Senator Jeff Klein announces that he's giving up his law practice as the debate continues over outside income for state legislators.
Credit Photo from Karen Dewitt

One day after Democrats in the Senate proposed sharply curtailing outside income earned by state lawmakers, the leader of another Senate faction says he’s quitting his private law practice.

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Focus on Education
4:52 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Teachers ready to fight Cuomo on reform issues

With less than two months before the state budget is due, Governor Cuomo and education groups remain at odds, with the state teacher’s union calling the fight a “war,” and Cuomo calling the teachers and their allies a bloated bureaucracy.

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Local
4:54 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Two Albany corruption cases come to a conclusion

Two sexual harassment victims of former Assemblyman Vito Lopez have settled their case and will receive  $580,000 in restitution. It was one of two lingering corruption cases which came to resolution in Albany Thursday.

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Local
4:30 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Carl Heastie expected to take over as Assembly Speaker

Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie will be New York's next Assembly Speaker.
Credit courtesy of Heastie website

The State Assembly is poised to elect Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie as the next Speaker, as Sheldon Silver resigns in disgrace over serious corruption charges.

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Politics
5:05 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Morelle out, Heastie gains in Speaker's race

Carl Heastie appears to be in line to be the next Assembly Speaker.
Credit assembly.state.ny.us/

The race to replace the disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver seems all but over, with the Assembly’s Majority Leader Joe Morelle ending his bid for the job and throwing his support to Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie. A vote could be held as early as next week.

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