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 small band of protesters gathered Wednesday outside the State Capitol to demand that Gov. Andrew Cuomo loosen restrictions for visiting residents at nursing homes. But so far, the governor shows no sign of changing the rules. 

The 50 or so protesters include family members of those who died in the nursing homes during the height of the first wave of the pandemic in New York in the spring.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to withhold state funding from schools in COVID-19 hot spot areas that are remaining open despite the governor’s closure orders.

Cuomo said he will also hold back state funds from local governments that fail to adequately police the areas identified by health officials as COVID-19 clusters.  

Schools in coronavirus hot spots in New York City will shut down beginning Tuesday under an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor also threatened Monday to close down religious gatherings, including large Orthodox Jewish events, in the hot spots and said the state will take over enforcement of rules, including mask wearing and social distancing.  

Cuomo said he’s taking the steps because he does not want the hot spots to spread to the rest of the state. He compared them to embers in dry grass.  

State officials have unveiled a free smartphone app that will be able to notify someone if they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The COVID-19 Alert NY app will alert the user if they came within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for the virus, and if they were in proximity of that person for more than 10 minutes.

Clusters of the coronavirus in parts of New York are causing concern, and while the outbreaks remain isolated for now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not ruled out shutting down parts of the economy again if other measures don’t work.

Business leaders, however, say many employers will not survive another lengthy closure, and they're asking for a plan that does not include a major economic shuttering.  

New York’s business leaders are among those warning that the state’s child care system is broken and on the verge of collapse, and they are calling for emergency and long term relief from the state and federal governments.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s acting “aggressively” to control clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks in 20 zip codes in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.

The average rate of transmission of the virus in the state remains one of the lowest in the nation, at just over 1% . But in some neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens and in Rockland and Orange Counties the incidences of coronavirus are continuing to spike.

On national voter registration day, pro voting rights groups are encouraging potential voters to register, and for those who do want to vote, to make a plan in advance.  There are some important dates for voters in New York to remember.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is dismissing as “political” President Donald Trump’s Justice Department move to classify New York City, Seattle and Portland as “anarchy” jurisdictions, and withhold billions of dollars in federal funds.   

A decision by New Jersey leaders to raise taxes on that state’s wealthiest residents has provided new hope to advocates who want to tax the rich in New York -- but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his budget director are throwing cold water on that proposal. 

New Jersey’s top tax rate for those making between $1 million and $5 million a year will rise to 10.75%. That rate already applied to people making over $5 million a year. 

Those who want to tax the rich in New York hailed the move and asked Cuomo to follow suit.