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

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are hailing the passage of the Child Victims Act at the New York State Capitol, which will give victims their day in court.

The New York State Senate has passed a bill to make the state’s eight-year-old property tax cap permanent. So far, the Assembly has not approved the measure.

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The Child Victims Act is expected to be approved in the state Legislature Monday. Sponsors said they have fixed a perceived flaw in the legislation that opponents said could provide a loophole for public schools in sexual abuse cases.

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The New York State Legislature has approved a measure that ends a mandate that teacher evaluations be based on the results of their students’ standardized tests.

Matt Ryan/New York Now

The New York State Legislature has approved a measure known as the Dream Act that would offer college aid for children of undocumented immigrants. However, they stopped short of acting on a measure to offer driver’s licenses to immigrants in New York without documentation.

Office of the Governor

The New York State Legislature voted Tuesday to codify the abortion rights in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade into New York law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure immediately after the vote.

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The New York State legislature is poised to approve a bill to codify the abortion rights in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade into state law. For supporters, including the majority of Senators and Assemblymembers, it’s been a long time coming. For opponents, it’s a bitter disappointment.

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There have been numerous reactions to many of the policy items in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state budget. But how did the governor’s budgeting skills measure up? Two budget watchdog organizations are giving him mixed reviews.


The New York State Legislature has announced it will hold hearings on Feb. 13 about sexual harassment in state government.

The New York State Legislature has been more active during the first few days of the session than it has in many years.

New York State Governor's Office

The New York State Legislature for the first time granted civil rights to transgender New Yorkers. And on a busy day at the State Capitol, Gov. Andrew Cuomo also released his $175 billion budget plan.

Karen DeWitt

The Senate and Assembly are approving measures to expand the window in which New Yorkers can vote in elections, from one day to 11 days. The action comes at the start at what is anticipated to be a busy week at the State Capitol that includes the release of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget plan.


The Democratic-led New York State Legislature is set for a big week. Action is planned on Monday to implement early voting in the state and on Tuesday to grant more civil rights to transgender New Yorkers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also will release his budget proposal.

Karen DeWitt

The New York state legislative session began with ceremonies and excitement as Democrats claimed their solid majority in the state Senate and made history with the election of a new female leader.


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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to release details of a plan to make recreational marijuana legal in New York state when he outlines his budget proposal later this month. Even the governor concedes, though, that there are many unanswered questions about how to proceed.

Democratic state legislators are beginning the new year with some resentment toward Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo over a deal that gives them a big raise — but comes with several strings attached.

Karen DeWitt

Governor Andrew Cuomo began his third term in office with a speech at the historic site of Ellis Island, where the ancestors of millions of Americans arrived as immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. He focused much of his speech not on state issues, but instead on what he sees as the nation’s problems, and said New York will lead the fight against them.


LaborReligion.org

Religious and progressive groups say they will press Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to adopt what they call a “moral” state budget in 2019. The groups brought their views to the Capitol just before Christmas.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo begins his third term in office Jan. 1 with a planned address on Ellis Island, the site of major immigration to the United States during the 20th century.  The governor’s next years  in office will likely be spent seeking a more progressive agenda than he has in the past.

The state’s Drinking Water Quality Council has issued what it considers to be safe levels for exposure to toxic chemicals, including PFOAs and PFOS that have been found in high quantities in some of New York’s drinking water supplies.

PlannedParenthoodAction.org

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out his 2019 agenda earlier this week, he promised that a bill protecting abortion rights for New York’s women would become law by the end of January. Supporters say they are pleased that the measure may finally move, but they also say it’s not time to be complacent.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a preview of his 2019 agenda, laid out an ambitious plan to counteract actions by President Trump and his policies, including strengthening abortion rights, expanding voter access and legalizing marijuana.


Hans Pennink / Associated Press

A government reform group has filed a lawsuit to stop a pay raise granted to state lawmakers by a compensation commission.

DrugPolicyAlliance.org

People who support legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in New York say 2019 may be the year that it happens. At a conference to explore the best way to craft legislation, participants also said it needs to include reparative justice for communities most adversely affected by the decades-long marijuana prohibition in New York.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he backs a pay commission’s recommendation that he and the Legislature receive a more than 60 percent pay increase over the next three years, which would make Cuomo the highest-paid governor in the nation.

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The former head of key economic development programs for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including the Buffalo Billion, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison by a federal judge on Tuesday.

The state Board of Regents has recommended that an additional $2.1 billion be spent on schools next year, and that a 12-year-old court order to fully fund schools be phased in over the next three years.

Democrats are poised to lead the state Senate starting next month, but they will still lack power on the state’s ethics panel. A law implemented several years ago will allow Republicans in the chamber to hold the majority of seats.

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A pay commission for New York’s statewide elected officials recommends a hefty increase to the salaries of the governor, state senators and assemblymembers, but there are some strings attached. 


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Democrats who will run the state Senate in January say a top priority will be to expand access to voting in New York. Advocates say there are several steps they can take.

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