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.

State lawmakers hoped to begin to pass budget bills Thursday night, even though some major issues related to the spending plan are still not resolved. They need to finish by mid-day Friday so legislators and staff can get home for the Passover and Easter holidays.

Senators emerged from a party conference Thursday afternoon after discussing what’s in and what’s out of the budget.

Budget talks are stalled shortly before a self-imposed deadline of March 30 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature. Meanwhile, groups left out of the deal expressed their dismay.

Calling themselves the “coalition of the shafted,” the groups – including advocates for access to birth control, bail reform and better voter access – stood on the “Million Dollar Staircase” to criticize the direction of the budget talks.

Talks on the state budget were stalled just days before the March 30 deadline, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers continued negotiations. Groups pressing for additional issues that are in the governor’s budget plan still have not given up hope.

Cynthia Nixon, Democratic candidate for governor, came to Albany to critique the school funding record of her potential primary opponent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The funding is now being discussed in the state budget. As in all of her comments since she’s announced her candidacy, Nixon didn’t pull any punches.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are negotiating a new anti-sexual harassment policy for state and local government officials as part of the state budget. But several victims of sexual abuse and harassment in the Legislature have come forward with a letter asking that the issue be taken out of the budget.

The letter is signed by sexual harassment victims of former Assembly members Vito Lopez and Micah Kellner, as well as a woman who accuses Senate Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein of forcibly kissing her, something Klein denies.

It’s just over a week until the state budget is due, and there’s no resolution on an array of proposed new taxes and spending proposals, as well as several unrelated items that are tied to the budget.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been holding private leaders meetings on the budget at the executive mansion.

“This week is about getting a state budget done,” Cuomo said, “which is one of the most serious state budgets we’ve had to deal with.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his first public comments since challenger Cynthia Nixon announced her candidacy, dismissed two days of attacks as the “political silly season.”

Nixon has laid out a case against Cuomo, claiming his administration is corrupt and he is beholden to corporate campaign donors and condones Republican control of the state Senate.

Cuomo was asked about the charges during a storm briefing in New York City.

New York’s Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan met privately with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday over a proposed bill to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more access to the courts. The cardinal remains opposed to a key provision of the measure. 

The Child Victims Act, backed by Cuomo, extends the statute of limitations for  victims of childhood sexual abuse from age 23 to age 50. It also includes a one-year lookback window of opportunity for victims of any age to bring their alleged abusers to court.

Cynthia Nixon, candidate for governor of New York, delivered a blistering speech Tuesday against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who she hopes to challenge in a Democratic primary. She was immediately criticized by a Cuomo ally, who questioned Nixon’s qualifications in a controversial remark.

Actor and public education advocate Cynthia Nixon announced her campaign for governor of New York  Monday. She wants to run in a Democratic primary against incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo.  

Nixon made her announcement in a video that shows her with her wife and children in her home, and on the streets of New York, taking her child to school and riding the subway.  

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