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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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.

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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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Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was  sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday and told by a federal judge that he must give back $5 million that he stole from the public, as well a pay another $1.75 million in fines.


A new poll finds that voters want corruption in state government addressed before lawmakers adjourn the 2016 session.


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The New York State legislature has been on a three week break. In their absences, federal investigations into aides close to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor  Bill deBlasio have intensified, spurring even more calls for reform.


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The legislature returns next Tuesday for the final push in a session that ends in late June. Government reformers say it’s time to focus on ethics fixes.

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Government reform groups say you can add one more item to the long list of reforms that they believe are needed in Albany.


Karen DeWitt

While two major natural gas pipelines have been scrapped recently in New York, opposition is mounting against  a third, which would expand a line that is near the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant.


New York’s restrictive voter access rules came under scrutiny during Tuesday’s Presidential primary. And some are saying there’s a need for changes.

Charles Lane, WSHU

Two special elections were also held Tuesday, to fill the seats vacated by the two former legislative leaders, who were both convicted of felony corruption and had to resign.


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Tuesday is not only New York’s Presidential primary. It also the day for two special elections to replace the disgraced former leaders of the legislature, who lost their seats after being convicted on multiple felony corruption charges.


Karen DeWitt

All three republican Presidential candidates  spoke at the state GOP dinner Thursday night.


A new poll finds that Bernie Sanders has narrowed the gap with Hillary Clinton in the New York Presidential primary race, but Clinton leads in key voting regions.

Karen DeWitt

Proponents of New York’s new medical marijuana law say so far, it’s barely functioning, and they say major revisions are necessary to allow more than just a tiny number of patients to benefit.


A quirk in the newly enacted minimum wage increase could mean that in  upstate New York by the early 2020’s,  fast food workers could  be paid significantly more than other low wage jobs, like being a home health care worker or a cashier in a grocery store.


The new state budget has been in place for nearly a week, but little attention has been paid to many of the items that are in it. A government reform group says that’s by design.


Karen DeWitt

Fracktivists, as anti hydro- fracking activists are called, hope to play a role in New York’s Presidential primary. They are asking Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as Republican candidates, to take a stand against the Constitution pipeline and other natural gas pipelines, that if approved could criss- cross the state. 


Karen DeWitt

Prior to holding a rally at the Cohoes high school, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held an event in New York City with Governor Cuomo. The former New York Senator is scheduled to appear in Buffalo this Friday.


The newly approved state budget includes a minimum wage increase that is the result of several compromises.


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State lawmakers went down to the wire Thursday night on meeting the state budget deadline and voting continued Friday, once all of the budget bills are finalized.


There’s a framework deal on the state budget  as the Thursday midnight deadline approaches, but it appears less likely that the midnight deadline for passage will be met.

Governor Cuomo and Legislative leaders have neared final agreements on the state budget. Voting could begin Thursday. 


Karen DeWitt

Lawmakers worked toward a budget deal Monday, as Governor Cuomo indicated he’s making some concessions on the minimum wage.


When the state budget is approved next week it will likely not include a discount for frequent users of the New York State Thruway. The legislature has rejected Governor Cuomo’s plan to use some of the state’s surplus to subsidize tolls.


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