Karen DeWitt

Albany Reporter

Ways To Connect

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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.

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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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. 

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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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 .

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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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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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.

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.

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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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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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Karen Dewitt

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will end his long reign as the head of the Assembly on Monday, say the Democratic members of the Assembly who announced they’ll hold a new election for Speaker on February 10th.

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is under arrest and $3.8 million in eight different bank accounts held by Silver have been seized as federal prosecutors accuse the Speaker of running two fraudulent and corrupt schemes.

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo died on New Year’s Day, just hours after his son , Governor Andrew Cuomo, gave his inaugural address for his second term in office.

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Environmentalists are celebrating while gas companies are fuming over Governor Cuomo's decision to ban hydro fracking in New York State for the near future. Albany Correspondent Karen DeWitt provides some insight into the decision in an interview with WBFO's Morning Edition host Jay Moran.

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Environmentalists are celebrating after Gov.Cuomo said there will be no hydrofracking in New York for now, citing inconclusive scientific evidence on the health effects of the gas drilling process.

There are growing calls in Albany for a special prosecutor to investigate police encounters with unarmed citizens that end in the death of the person.  Senate Democrats are the latest to ask for immediate action in the wake of the death of Eric Garner and other recent incidents.

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Four candidates for New York governor squared off in a debate last night from the WNED|WBFO studios. Afterward, the debate's moderator, WBFO News Director Brian Meyer, and one of its panelists, New York Public Radio Albany correspondent Karen DeWitt, talked about what they saw and heard during the hour-long forum.

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Four of the candidates running for Governor of New York will be participating in a debate originating from Buffalo at the studios of WNED|WBFO. It will be shown on public television and heard on public radio tonight. It’s the only debate agreed to by Andrew Cuomo and his challengers.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Governor Andrew Cuomo made a rare appearance before the State University of New York Board of Trustees and convinced officials to pass a system-wide set of policies on how to respond to sexual assault and rape on campus.

U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Kap Kim, Combined Joint Task Force-10 Public Affairs / WBFO News

Governor Andrew Cuomo is in Afghanistan for a surprise visit.

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The issue of hydrofracking played a role in the recent Democratic primary for governor in New York, and those who oppose the gas drilling process hope it will influence the general election, as well.

Governor Cuomo is non-committal about whether he’ll debate his Democratic and Republican opponents in the fall elections.