WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Karen DeWitt

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She 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 for 2009 by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

A wide variety of groups have spent over $1.3 million dollars to urge voters to vote no on  holding a Constitutional Convention. The opponents have far outspent a smaller number of advocates who urge a "yes" vote on the November ballot.  

The more than 150-member coalition opposing a constitutional convention includes labor unions, and the state’s Conservative Party, which often opposes unions. Also against the convention- both pro and anti abortion groups, environmentalists and gun rights organizations.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is going to court to fight President Donald Trump’s decision to end subsidies for low-income Americans who get their health care through the Affordable Care Act health exchanges.

Schneiderman said ending the subsidies is an attempt by Trump to “blow up” the nation’s health care system.

“His effort to cut these subsides with no warning or even a plan to contain the fallout is breathtakingly reckless,” Schneiderman said.

The state comptroller has announced that New York is joining 28 other states in offering a program that will help parents with disabled children save money for their future.

The program is modeled on the college savings program, which also is operated by the comptroller’s office. It allows an account to be set up in the name of any New Yorker who is diagnosed with a disability before the age of 26.

New Yorkers have the power on Nov. 7 to decide whether some state officials convicted of a felony should be stripped of their pensions.

But the proposal would not apply to two former legislative leaders and several former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who are accused of corruption.

The ballot proposition before voters on Election Day would allow a judge to determine whether a state official convicted of crimes like bribery or bid-rigging should lose all or part of their pension.

Some of the state’s top-ranking education officials are condemning a vote by a State University of New York committee that would weaken regulations for teachers at some charter schools.

The controversial proposal approved by the SUNY Charter Schools Committee is slightly different than an earlier one. Now, instead of requiring as little as 30 hours of classroom experience in order to be eligible to teach in a charter school, 40 hours are required, as part of a total of 160 hours of classroom related instruction.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is more prominent on the national stage these days, leading some to wonder whether he is running for president.

In Cuomo’s first term as governor, he made a point of never leaving the state, even taking vacations within its borders, saying the state is so beautiful that he never needed to leave it. He discouraged any talk of seeking higher office.

Lately, though, that has changed.

The tax overhaul plan proposed by President Donald Trump and now being considered in Congress would end the deduction on federal income tax forms for state and local property taxes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it would disproportionately harm New Yorkers, where property taxes are among the highest in the nation, and he’s taken opportunities at recent public events to make the case against the plan.

Governor Andrew Cuomo weighed in on the controversy over Christopher Columbus when he  marched in New York City’s annual Columbus Day parade.  

Cuomo, who referred to the day’s celebration not as Columbus Day but as Italian- American Day, was asked by reporters about the growing movement to pull down some statues of Christopher Columbus in New York.  The governor says he “rejects the negativity” behind the cause. And he says honoring Columbus and honoring indigenous peoples are not two opposing viewpoints.

A new poll finds waning support for a constitutional convention in New York. The issue is on the ballot in November.

The Siena College poll finds that enthusiasm for a constitutional convention has dropped since the summer, with more people now saying they would vote against it, although a plurality still backs the idea.

People who say the terminally ill should have a legal option to end their lives with medical aid presented petitions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday, asking that he and the Legislature make that change. 

About 7,500 New York State Fair attendees signed the petition, which asks that “a mentally capable, terminally ill adult with a prognosis of six months or less” to live be permitted the option to obtain medication to end their lives if “their suffering becomes unbearable.”

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