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.

April 1  arrived with no agreement on the state budget, and for the first time in over a decade, there’s no clear indication of when a spending plan might be passed.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warned that if the impasse lasts beyond next Monday, the paychecks of some essential state workers might be delayed.

On the first day of the new fiscal year, just one of 10 budget bills had been approved. The debt service bill was passed on the evening of March 31. Senate Finance Chair Liz Krueger could not say when the remaining nine might be ready for passage. 

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers still needing to reach final agreement on a number of issues, it appears the state budget won’t meet its April 1 deadline.

The Legislature is proposing $7 billion in new taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and $4 billion more in school aid. Cuomo’s tax and education aid plans are more modest.  

The governor’s budget director, Robert Mujica, appearing on Spectrum’s New York 1, was asked whether the spending plan will be late this year. He said only: “We’re going to get it done.”  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana into law Wednesday, hailing it as an historic moment.

He said in a statement that  it “rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences” and will embrace an industry that will grow the state’s economy.

The New York State Legislature approved the legislation  Tuesday evening. 

Opponents warned that it will lead more teenagers and children to use the drug and that traffic accidents will increase.

Opponents of legalizing marijuana in New York made a last minute pitch to derail an agreement reached between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to allow the sale of the drug to adults for recreational purposes.

The school officials and law enforcement groups say legalizing cannabis will lead to more under aged teens and children using the drug, and could also cause more traffic accidents and potentially deaths.

A 10th woman has come forward with allegations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo behaved inappropriately toward her.

New Yorkers over the age of 21 will be able to legally buy marijuana as early as next year, under terms of a bill agreed to by both houses of the state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.   

By late 2022, adults in the state would be able to buy cannabis in retail stores, and could also sample the drug in tasting rooms, similar to wine tasting venues. They would also be able to grow a limited number of marijuana plants at home - six per person and up to 12 per household.  

Both the governor and the legislature offered proposals.

Survivors of alleged sexual harassment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, disgraced ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and former Columbia University gynecologist Robert Hadden joined with state lawmakers Friday to call for a law that would give victims a platform to bring their alleged abusers to court. 

Among those speaking at the Zoom news conference was Lindsey Boylan, who has accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, including an unwelcome kiss and a suggestion that they play strip poker while flying in the governor’s private plane.

Critics of some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic marked the anniversary of the controversial March 25, 2020 order that required the homes to take back from hospitals residents who were ill with the disease.

They said an ongoing federal probe does not go far enough in investigating all that may have gone wrong in the governor’s management of nursing homes during the pandemic.  

The state Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held its first meeting of an impeachment inquiry against Gov. Andrew Cuomo over allegations that he sexually harassed several women, as well as other controversies.

The chair of the committee, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, said it could be quite a while before it reaches any conclusions.

When Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie began an impeachment investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo over sexual harassment and other allegations earlier this month, he was the first speaker to do so in 108 years.