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.

Democrats who lead the New York State Legislature are moving ahead with several criminal justice reforms in the remaining weeks of the 2021 session.

But Republicans, who are in the minority party, are pushing back, saying the measures go too far and will contribute to the rising crime rate across New York.

The New York State Legislature is scheduled to end its session in mid-June, and lawmakers have a long list of priorities they hope to finish before then.

Criminal justice reform tops the list for many Democratic senators and Assembly members, including changes to the state’s parole system. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, speaking on public radio station WCNY’s "The Capitol Pressroom," said parole needs to be reformed.

The New York State Senate approved anti-sexual harassment measures this week that extend protections to top staff in the governor’s office as well as for employees of other elected officials.

The actions come as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under investigation by the state attorney general after several women accused him of sexual harassment -- and in one case, assault.

The bills strengthen the state’s sexual harassment laws, which were updated in 2019, and close some loopholes.

The New York State Assembly’s committee that’s conducting an impeachment inquiry into Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a brief progress report after meeting Wednesday.

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is using the strength of the state’s pension fund to push for racial justice at Amazon.  

The state’s pension fund holds significant shares in the growing company, and DiNapoli is asking that Amazon conduct an independent review of its impacts on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion, and the effects of those issues on its business.

Some members of the state’s ethics commission pressed Tuesday for a subpoena to look into a controversy over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hiring of former aide Larry Schwartz as a “volunteer” COVID-19 vaccine czar for the state.

But Cuomo’s appointees to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, known as JCOPE, voted the proposal down. 

A new poll finds that while Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s popularity has waned since he’s been embroiled in a number of scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment, more New Yorkers believe the embattled governor should hang on than think he should resign.

The Siena College poll finds that by a 49% to 41% margin, New Yorkers don’t think that Cuomo should step down. That’s down two points from last month, when 51% thought Cuomo should stay.

A new poll finds that while Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s popularity has waned since he’s been embroiled in a number of scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment, more New Yorkers believe the embattled governor should hang on than think he should resign.

The Siena College poll finds that by a 49% to 41% margin, New Yorkers don’t think that Cuomo should step down. That’s down two points from last month, when 51% thought Cuomo should stay.

New York state is dealing with a severe decline in COVID-19 vaccination rates by offering free lottery tickets to those who agree to get a shot, starting Monday.

While over half of New Yorkers are now fully vaccinated, the rest of the population seems more reluctant to get their shots. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said beginning next week, all state vaccination sites will give away lottery tickets, worth $20, to anyone who agrees to get a dose.

New York state is dealing with a severe decline in COVID-19 vaccination rates by offering free lottery tickets to those who agree to get a shot, starting Monday.

While over half of New Yorkers are now fully vaccinated, the rest of the population seems more reluctant to get their shots. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said beginning next week, all state vaccination sites will give away lottery tickets, worth $20, to anyone who agrees to get a dose.

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