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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Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that New York will receive 170,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 15, and front-line health care workers and nursing home residents will be among the first to receive it.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

The New York State Thruway Board voted Tuesday to raise tolls by nearly a third for drivers who don’t have an electronic E-ZPass, beginning in January. The change has so far drawn little reaction among the public, but two state senators are against parts of the plan.

Office of the Governor

With New York state’s rate of COVID-19 infection above 4% for the second day in a row, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced new emergency hospital rules to prevent the state’s health care system from being overwhelmed.

New York State Thruway Authority

A state senator is objecting to a proposal by the New York State Thruway Authority to raise tolls for drivers who don’t have an E-ZPass.

Joe Biden / Twitter

A new poll finds the presidential election is not settled yet for some New Yorkers. Three weeks after Election Day, 20% of respondents say it’s too early to tell who actually won.

New York State Senate

Democrats who lead the state Senate announced Monday that they have won enough seats to hold a supermajority. That means they can override vetoes by the governor and potentially change the balance of power at the state capital.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo intensified restrictions in several parts of New York on Monday as the coronavirus infection rate climbs. He also delivered a stern warning to New Yorkers who are tempted to break the rules during the holiday season, saying careless behavior will lead to more deaths.

Office of the Governor

As the Thanksgiving holiday week begins, New York State officials are recommending that dinners and other gatherings of family and friends be limited or even cancelled, to prevent a further rise in COVID-19 transmission.

National Federation of Independent Businesses

As the coronavirus infection rate climbed higher in New York State, new microcluster zones were announced this week in New York and some existing ones were intensified. A business group is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stick to that approach of limited closures, saying they won’t survive a complete economic shutdown.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared more regions as microcluster coronavirus hot zones as the rate of COVID-19 continues to climb in New York.

Now that elections are over, leaders of the New York State Legislature are facing pressure from a wide range of groups to reconvene and deal with pandemic-related economic problems. Legislative leaders say they are not ruling it out.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a speech at a Black church in Manhattan, vowed to sue the administration of President Donald Trump for violating the constitutional rights of African American and Hispanic New Yorkers, if it does not make changes to its COVID-19 vaccination plan.

File Photo / WBFO News

In New York, absentee ballot counting is just getting underway in many counties, more than a week after Election Day. Because so many more people voted by mail, eight close State Senate seats are undecided until the ballots are processed and it’s possible the new legislative session could begin in January before some of the races are decided.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Overnight on Friday, the New York State Thruway will make the switch to all cashless tolling. By Saturday morning, cameras mounted on steel gantries above the roadway will extract the tolls from E-ZPass accounts or send bills to motorist without one.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is imposing new restrictions on bars and restaurants and limiting the number of people at a home gathering to 10 or fewer, effective on Friday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would wait until after the general election before deciding how to close the state’s multibillion-dollar budget gap, hoping that Democratic wins for president and the U.S. Senate might lead to a larger federal relief package for blue states.

Now that Election Day has come and gone, and with the most likely scenario a President Joe Biden but a Republican-led U.S. Senate, the governor and the State Legislature will have to soon make some big decisions.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Election Day brought mixed results for Democrats and Republicans in New York’s congressional and legislative races. Republicans were quick to claim victory, but Democrats -- who will remain in the majority no matter the outcomes of contested races -- say the record number of absentee ballots needs to be counted first, and it might take weeks.

New York State Senate

Many State Senate races have not been called, and might not be for weeks, until the record number of absentee ballots cast this year are counted.

Onondaga County Board of Elections

Voters in New York who have not cast their ballots early in person or by mail go to the polls Tuesday. While Democrat Joe Biden is heavily favored to win the state over President Donald Trump, there is plenty of action in congressional and state races for voters to weigh in on.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

All 212 seats in the New York State Legislature are up for election this year. There are over a dozen contested seats in the state Senate where Democrats are favored to win in many of the contests and potentially gain a supermajority. But Republicans say they hope to gain some seats, too.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Most of the attention this election season has been focused on the presidential campaign, but there are also a significant number of New York State Senate races in play. Democrats need just two more seats to gain a supermajority that could potentially override any vetoes of legislation issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to take issue with comments by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said over the weekend that the federal government does not plan to get control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working Families Party

Minor parties in New York face strict new rules this year to keep their candidates on the ballot without having to resort to petitioning for thousands of signatures, and one is making an all-out effort to boost votes on its line.

Early voting begins in New York on Saturday, and continues through Nov. 1, two days before Election Day.

Office of the Governor

With 43 states now on New York State’s banned list, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s talking to health experts about a possible testing regimen that could end the mandatory quarantine period.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his vaccination plan for New York, released over the weekend, is preliminary and much more information is needed to finalize the distribution of the vaccine to New Yorkers when it becomes available.

Now that New York state has begun enforcement of its plastic bag ban, after an unsuccessful lawsuit by the plastics industry, the state’s environmental agency and an advocacy group want to know whether stores are complying.

County leaders in New York say they are frustrated over delays by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to make major decisions about the state’s multibillion-dollar budget gap. They're also asking for more cooperation in carrying out key functions during the COVID-19 pandemic, like testing and tracing.

Office of the Governor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has written a letter on behalf of all the states’ governors asking President Donald Trump to form a clear plan on how to administer a COVID-19 vaccine when that day comes.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to withhold state funding from schools in COVID-19 hot spot areas that are remaining open despite the governor’s closure orders. Cuomo said he will also hold back state funds from local governments that fail to adequately police the areas identified by health officials as COVID-19 clusters. 

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