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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courtesy wnyhomeless.org

Some Homeless advocates are dismayed by what they say is Governor Cuomo’s  failure at the end of the legislative session to follow through with promises to fund five years worth of new supportive housing and other services for the homeless. Their complaints come as the State Comptroller issues a scathing report on the state of homeless shelters across New York.


What began in January as an ambitious reform package to address a wave of corruption at the Capitol, proposed by Governor Cuomo, dwindled to just two proposals by the time the session closed in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning. 


Karen DeWitt

Lawmakers wrapped up the 2016 legislative session at around 5 a.m. Saturday morning, agreeing to take steps to cancel the pensions of convicted lawmakers in the future, legalize daily fantasy sports and extend New York City’s mayoral control law for another year.


Karen DeWitt

The legislature was closing down on an end of session  deal that would strip convicted lawmakers of their pensions, extend mayoral control of New York City schools for one more year and legalize Daily Fantasy sports gambling.


Hoosick Falls residents came to the Capitol on Wednesday to demand hearings on the water crisis that has revealed high levels of a toxic chemical in many people’s blood streams.


Karen DeWitt

With the legislative session down to the wire, groups for and against bills including expansion of Uber ride services and ethics reform came to the Capitol to make their voices heard.


Karen DeWitt

As part of the push to end the legislative session by Thursday, state lawmakers representing the PFOA contaminated village of Hoosick Falls want to extend the statute of limitations to bring lawsuits against polluters.


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There are only three more days left in the legislative session and lawmakers are talking with Governor Andrew Cuomo about a number of bills, but keeping details close to the vest.


The assemblymember who represents Hoosick Falls is calling for a federal investigation after revelations that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration knew about elevated levels of a toxin in the village’s water for a year and a half before residents were warned.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's Office

Until recently, Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, director of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, has been the darling of the Cuomo administration. But now, he’s one of the figures at the center of federal and state investigations into alleged pay-to-play schemes for economic development projects and is increasingly on the outs with the Cuomo Administration.


Karen DeWitt

Expectations for major ethics reform in the state legislature are low, even though both former leaders of the legislature are facing prison time for corruption. With just over a week to go before the session ends, only one measure — to take back the pensions of lawmakers who are convicted felons — seems to be in play.


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State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has been asked by two Western New York lawmakers to review governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development projects. The Comptroller says an on going audit is already looking at some aspects of the increasingly controversial project.


Two separate bills to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports and some other forms of gambling are moving through the legislature, but anti-gambling groups say they should be stopped.


Bart Schwartz Twitter account

It’s been over a month since Gov. Andrew Cuomo hired a special investigator in response to a federal probe of his Buffalo Billion project. But so far, no contract with that investigator, Bart Schwartz, has been released, and questions remain about what exactly he is investigating.


WBFO News File Photo

With just a few weeks left until the end of the legislative session, a new poll finds New York voters are still craving reform in state government, and they’d rather not see a new law to expand state gambling by legalizing daily fantasy sports.


The state legislature ends its session for the year on June 16, and expectations are low for any major pieces of legislation to be resolved before the adjournment, as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration faces increasing scrutiny from the U.S. attorney over economic development projects.


SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Probes into alleged corruption by former members and associates of the Cuomo Administration deepened Thursday afternoon, as the Attorney General’s office conducted a raid at SUNY Polytechnic offices in Albany.


Karen DeWitt

A board controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders voted Wednesday to approve more than $485 million for the Buffalo Billion project. But there were some questions from board members about details of a program that is now under federal investigation.


Governor Cuomo has released a bill on closing a loophole that allows for unlimited big money donations to candidates. The LLC loophole has played a key role in the federal corruption trials of both former leaders of the legislature, and may be a factor in the ongoing federal probe of the governor’s economic development projects.


WBFO News File Photo

A key vote on Governor Andrew Cuomo's economic development program, known as the Buffalo Billion, is scheduled for today. The vote comes after it was postponed for a week amid controversy and questions over a federal probe of the projects.


Karen DeWitt

It’s just over three weeks until the legislative session is scheduled to end, and hopes for reform are fading,  during an unprecedented level of corruption in state government.


Photo by Eileen Buckley

Almost 98 percent of school budgets were approved in statewide voting Tuesday, including the majority of school districts asking for overrides of the state’s mandatory property tax cap. Meanwhile, school board candidates who support opting out of standardized tests saw success across the state.


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Governor Cuomo says a key vote on the next installment of the Buffalo Billion project is merely postponed, not canceled, and he denies that he’s feeling “defensive” about the widening federal probe of his administration’s economic development projects.

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With his former top aide facing a federal probe for potential conflicts of interest for consulting work, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said twice now that he did not know what the former close associate of the Cuomo family was up to. Percoco left state service earlier this year for a job at Madison Square Garden.

But it turns out that the governor had not one, but two ways to know if his current or former top aides have any business deals that could present an ethical conflict.


Karen DeWitt

Former New York Senate leader Dean Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution and fines Thursday after his conviction on corruption charges. His son Adam got six-and-a-half years.


Every day for the past two weeks, news reports have focused on a federal probe of Governor Cuomo’s Administration. Despite that, Cuomo and legislative leaders say they are trying to achieve some agenda items in the closing weeks of the legislative session.


Karen DeWitt

Advocates for farm workers  are trying a new route to gain the right to form a union and be allowed benefits afforded to other laborers in New York. They are suing the state government.

Karen DeWitt

Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee cast a vote on closing a campaign finance loophole that has played a role in recent corruption trials of the former legislative leaders, but the act could doom the measure for the 2016 session.


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Opponents of a planned fracked gas power plant in the Hudson Valley say they are hoping the U.S. Attorney will investigate decisions made in the permitting process for the plan, now that it has been revealed that the wife of a former top aide to Cuomo took payments from the lead engineering firm in the project, and that her husband is the subject of a federal probe.

WBFO News File Photo

Governor Cuomo’s explanation of some of the circumstances of a U.S. Attorney’s probe into his administration has left some unanswered questions.


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