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.

Wednesday is the first day of a yearlong legal window to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their alleged abusers. Hundreds of cases are expected to be filed on the first day alone.

The survivors bringing suit Wednesday were previously shut out of the courts due to a strict statute of limitations. Under the Child Victims Act, approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature earlier this year, victims can bring criminal charges against an alleged abuser until they reach the age of 28, and can initiate a civil lawsuit until they are 55.

New York’s senior U.S. senator said that he will push for legislation in the upcoming federal budget to provide funds for local boards of elections to harden their security against potential threats by foreign governments. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is continuing to offer his views in the national debate about gun control. He's asking Democratic presidential candidates to endorse four gun control measures previously adopted in New York. 

A new poll shows voters have mixed opinions about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  

The Siena College survey finds New Yorkers think Cuomo has made the state a better place in the nine years since he was elected governor. They give him high points for accomplishments like protecting the rights of New Yorkers, ensuring accessibility to health care and a high-quality education, and effectively managing state government.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill into law that further decriminalizes marijuana possession in New York state. The law ends criminal prosecution for possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis.

The action comes on a day when the governor also signed new gun control measures into law. 

Under the law, possession of up to 1 ounce of the drug would be punishable by a $50 fine. Having up to 2 ounces of cannabis would bring a $200 fine. The measure also creates a mechanism to expunge the records for some past marijuana convictions.

Political parties that represent the left and the right of New York’s political spectrum have joined in a common interest and filed lawsuits against a new commission that might curtail their rights to cross-endorse political candidates.

And though the two parties in some cases hold diametrically opposing views on policy, they share a belief that Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to get rid of the practice as part of a political vendetta.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday signed into law a bill that could greatly reduce greenhouse gases in New York. He was joined by former Vice President Al Gore, a longtime activist against climate change.

At Fordham University, Cuomo told an audience of Democratic lawmakers, union leaders and environmentalists that the law, which sets a goal of reducing all greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050, is the "most consequential" of his administration. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a farmworkers' rights bill into law Wednesday that will, for the first time, give the workers benefits that other employees get, including time off and overtime pay.

The governor said the farmworkers rights measure marks a "milestone in the crusade for social justice."

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia abruptly resigned Monday, taking members of the state Board of Regents by surprise. She said she will take a new job at the end of August at an unnamed national firm. 

Elia, who is the first female commissioner in the history of the State Education Department, said she decided now is the right time to leave the post, and has agreed to accept a job with a national firm that works to turn around struggling public schools.

The first lawsuit has been filed against New York's new law to permit undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the new law.

The lawsuit filed by Erie County Clerk Michael "Mickey" Kearns seeks court action to prevent the state from forcing county clerks who are against the new law to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Kearns. speaking a few days before the suit was filed, said he believes the New York law is unconstitutional.

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