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.

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.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke publicly for the first time since his former closest aide was convicted of running two bribery schemes while working for the governor and managing Cuomo’s re-election campaign.

Cuomo said he respects the jury’s decision, but feels personally sad over the conviction of Joe Percoco, a man he has referred to as his “brother.”

“He has two young daughters who are going to have to live with this trauma,” Cuomo said during questions from reporters at an unrelated event in New York City.

But the governor said Percoco acted on his own.

  

A federal jury found Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Joe Percoco guilty on three counts of bribery and conspiracy to commit honest service fraud in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday.

Percoco, who has been described as being like a “brother” to the governor, was found guilty of participating in two bribery schemes, where he netted nearly $300,000. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to impose a tax on manufacturers of prescription opioids to help pay for state programs that assist people who are addicted to them. But some say it will be patients who ultimately will have to pay the price.

Cuomo laid out the opioid tax proposal in his state budget address nearly two months ago, saying it’s only fair that the makers of the pain pills shoulder some of the financial burden of treating people who became addicted to the medicines.

The New York State Senate has approved anti-sexual harassment legislation that includes an end to secret settlements. It also no longer allows state officials who admit to sexual harassment to use taxpayer funds to settle their cases.

Senate sponsor Cathy Young, a Republican from Olean, said the bill prohibits mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment cases, a clause that she said has protected abusers.

“It’s people like Harvey Weinstein and people of that ilk,” said Young.

Things got heated on the New York State Senate floor this week over a debate on bills that majority party Republicans say will improve school safety. Meanwhile, the state Assembly on Tuesday passed its own set of gun control bills.

New York already has some of the strictest gun control measures in the nation, known as the SAFE Act. But since the shootings in Parkland, Florida, lawmakers from both major parties say there’s more to do to prevent school shootings.

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