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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Karen DeWitt

New York’s Health Department Public Health Council voted to ban flavored e-cigarettes in the state beginning Oct. 4. They did so over the protests of vape shop owners, who say they are helping people quit smoking tobacco cigarettes and that they will lose their businesses when the ban takes effect.


A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that a plan to charge up to $45 to replace license plates more than 10 years old is no longer going forward.


Karen Dewitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

The vaping industry is reacting to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s upcoming ban on flavored e-cigarettes, saying that it is misguided and will force many small-business owners to close their shops and lay off employees. Some are predicting legal action.


File photo / WBFO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order to direct his health department to ban all flavored electronic cigarettes, in response to a vaping heath emergency that has sickened hundreds and killed six people.


There’s new scrutiny on vaping products of all kinds, as the number of New Yorkers sickened with a disease that is so far related to some black-market marijuana vaping products has now risen to 60. Hundreds of people across the United States have been sickened, and six have died.


Working Families.org

The first hearing of a state commission to implement a public campaign finance system for New York's elections was overshadowed by the issue of whether to end fusion voting, which allows candidates to run on multiple ballot lines.


Calling it an "industrywide conspiracy," Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a lawsuit for the overprescription of opioids that he said has defrauded New Yorkers out of billions of dollars.


WBFO file photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state health department are continuing to urge New Yorkers to refrain from using any vaping products while an investigation continues into the cause of a mysterious vaping-related lung ailment that has now sickened 41 New Yorkers.


A law that decriminalizes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana took effect Wednesday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it's "long overdue," but some advocates say the law does not go far enough.


The ranks of Senate Republicans in New York have been greatly diminished over the past year, with losses in the November elections and other GOP senators saying this summer that they are seeking new jobs.

Matt Ryan/NY Now

The state’s new Republican Party Chair, Nick Langworthy, has been on the job for around six weeks, after taking over from former Chair Ed Cox in early July. Langworthy, in an interview with Karen DeWitt for public radio and television, says he’s undaunted by recent losses at the polls by New York’s Republican Party and is optimistic about regaining seats for his party in the future.

Governor's office

A plan by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to require motorists to pay a $25 fee to replace aging license plates is getting some resistance. But the governor said it’s needed to comply with new cashless scanners being set up on toll roads and bridges all over the state.


Governor's Office

The head of the state’s Republican Party said there is no need to require New Yorkers to buy new license plates beginning in 2020, if their current plates are still readable and in good condition.

The first meeting of the commission created to devise a public campaign finance system for New York's political races is scheduled for Wednesday. Advocates hope the commission, which has been slow to start, will start taking steps toward a final report due in December.


After economic development corruption scandals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli have finalized a plan to restore the comptroller's auditing powers over economic development contracts.

Mathew Cantore / CSEA

A major figure in New York’s labor movement, Danny Donohue, is leaving his job next year, after a quarter century leading the state’s largest public workers union, the Civil Service Employees Association. Karen DeWitt sat down with Donohue to talk about, among other things, his relationship with several New York governors, including the rocky start the union had with the current governor, Andrew Cuomo.


Hogan Willig Attorneys at Law / WBFO File Photo

The New York state ethics commission has settled with a former assemblymember and a former senate staffer in two cases involving sexual harassment.

Governor's Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed legislation Thursday to impose a penalty of life in prison without parole for acts of domestic terrorism, including mass shootings.


Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

It was an emotional day Wednesday, as hundreds of childhood sexual abuse survivors filed lawsuits in New York courts on the first day of a one-year window of opportunity for victims to seek civil action against their abusers.


Wednesday is the first day of a yearlong legal window to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their alleged abusers. Hundreds of cases are expected to be filed on the first day alone.


New York’s senior U.S. senator said that he will push for legislation in the upcoming federal budget to provide funds for local boards of elections to harden their security against potential threats by foreign governments.


WBFO file

In the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio over the weekend, there’s been renewed discussion about states and even the federal government adopting what’s known as red flag laws, to get guns out of the hands of potential killers. New York’s red flag law was approved last winter and takes effect later this month.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo is continuing to offer his views in the national debate about gun control. He's asking Democratic presidential candidates to endorse four gun control measures previously adopted in New York.


File photo / WBFO News

A new poll shows voters have mixed opinions about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 


WBFO file photo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling on Congress to take immediate action on gun control in the wake of the El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio mass shootings over the weekend.


New York Now

Beginning on August 14, New Yorkers who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse will have a one year window of opportunity to file civil suits against their abusers, under the terms of the Child Victims Act passed by the legislature earlier this year. Thousands of cases are expected to be filed, with payouts potentially in the millions.


A handshake deal between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to reinstate the comptroller’s powers to audit contracts in the wake of corruption scandals has stalled.


Abby Lambert / State Comptroller's Office

An audit from the state’s comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, finds that many schools across New York are not meeting requirements under a state law to prepare for emergencies, including possible school shootings. The audit comes as a shooter in California killed a six year old boy and a teenaged girl. DiNapoli sat down with Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt to talk about the shortcomings that he found.


WBFO file photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill into law that further decriminalizes marijuana possession in New York state. The law ends criminal prosecution for possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis.


New Yorkers have only about six months left to get single use plastic bags at the supermarket before a ban goes into effect March 1 and former EPA Administrator Judith Enck says that’s good thing. Enck now runs the Beyond Plastics center at Bennington College, VT and she spoke during a recent conference there. She told WBFO Albany Correspondent Karen DeWitt that more needs to be done.


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