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 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.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he may have to call a special session in December to deal with potential funding cuts from Washington that he calls part of a “federal assault” on New York.

Cuomo said he’s developing a plan to manage what he said will be over a billion dollars in cuts to the state’s public hospitals, now that Congress has failed to renew a key program.

“All hospitals will need to find savings,” Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo, who championed strict new gun control laws in New York after the 2012 Newtown Connecticut shootings killed 20 children, says national gun policy is “insanity” , and “disgusting”.

Cuomo criticized President Trump and other national Republican leaders who say now is not the time to talk about gun control so quickly after the Las Vegas shooting, saying that attitude is “ludicrous”.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff across New York in a memorial for the victims of the Las Vegas incident that left at least 58 dead and hundreds injured, calling it “yet another senseless and horrific mass shooting.”

Anti-gun violence advocates are renewing calls for a new law that they said might prevent some of these events in the future.

New York could be facing its first major shortfall in several years, partly due to falling tax collections and federal health care and other policy changes. That could leave the state with billions less in state aid.

Lately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s been sharing some bad news with New Yorkers. Twice in recent days he’s said there could be a multibillion-dollar shortfall in the budget next year.

The first time was at a briefing on how the state would be affected by potential federal Medicaid cuts. 

New York’s Democratic lawmakers are vowing to fight President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul proposal, perhaps even in court.

Meanwhile, a think tank’s analysis finds some middle-class New Yorkers could save a small amount of money under the income tax portion of the plan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the tax overhaul plan and the proposal to eliminate state and local tax deductions from federal income taxes would be “devastating” to New York.

“It is a tax increase plan,” Cuomo said Thursday on Long Island. “Period.”

Cuomo said he might sue.

The latest version of a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is now dead in Congress, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains worried about another potential cut in federal funds to hospitals that he said would blow a hole in the state budget.

The money is known as the Disproportionate Share Hospital fund, or DSH, and the money goes to public hospitals and safety net hospitals that often serve the poorest patients.

Former state Senate Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam saw their federal corruption convictions overturned by a federal appeals court panel Tuesday.

Skelos is the second former legislative leader to win his case on appeal in the past two months, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling revised the laws under which they were convicted.

The Skeloses were convicted in December 2015 of extortion and bribery in an alleged scheme by the elder Skelos to use his political influence to steer work and to award a no-show job to his son.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is considering a possible challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary for the 2018 governor’s race.

Miner said if she does run for governor, it won’t be a conventional campaign.

Miner, who sat down for an interview with public radio and TV, has just over three months remaining in her job as mayor and she said she’s focused on finishing up there. She’s prevented by term limits from running for mayor again.

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