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.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York doesn’t have enough money in its budget to meet a requirement in President Donald Trump’s executive order to fund $100-a-week in additional unemployment benefits.

Trump issued the executive order on Saturday. It would give unemployed Americans $400 in additional payments a week, less than the $600-a-week that expired July 31.

States, however, would have to finance one quarter of the weekly $400 payments. Trump told reporters that states have the money to do that.

The New York State Legislature on Monday held the first of two hearings on the thousands of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

Questions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, focused on a controversial March 25 directive that required nursing homes to take back COVID-19 patients from hospitals.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he will announce later this week on what terms schools can reopen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But he put the responsibility for the details back on schools, saying they need to better respond to the concerns of parents. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to New York’s congressional delegation, urging them not to settle for a federal stimulus package that does not include aid to states hard hit by the coronavirus.

The plea comes as talks between House Democrats and Senate Republicans in Washington are down to the wire.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted angrily Monday to news that a new plan to be released by Republicans in the U.S. Senate will not include aid to states and local governments hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Republicans, who hold the majority in the U.S. Senate, are unlikely to propose additional money in their federal stimulus proposal for state and local governments suffering economic impact from the pandemic. 

Democrats, who are in charge in the House, want to include up to $1 trillion in aid.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he’ll take legal action against the federal government after the U.S. Justice Department admitted in court papers Thursday that it was untruthful in its rationale for banning New Yorkers’ access to the Trusted Travel Program.  

The dispute between New York and the Trump Administration began in 2019, when the state allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver's licenses. It also barred the federal government from obtaining information about the immigrants through those licenses.

The New York State Legislature is wrapping up its business for 2020 at the state Capitol this week in a session that is perhaps defined more by what lawmakers are not doing than what they have been doing.

Many of the bills acted on by the Senate and Assembly address the nuts and bolts of government, like renewing sales tax authorization for localities and clarifying existing laws. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 10 states have been added to New York’s quarantine list and four bars have been ordered closed in an attempt to keep the coronavirus from spreading again in the state.

The 10 additional states where travelers into New York are subject to a mandatory quarantine are Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia and Washington, bringing the total to 31 states. Florida, Texas and California are among the states already on the list.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to shut down bars and restaurants in New York state if the establishments and local authorities don’t crack down on rules violations that Cuomo said could spread COVID-19. 

The New York State Legislature is due back in Albany on Monday for a session that is expected to last several days.

A growing number of lawmakers want to see new taxes on the wealthy on the agenda, and they're getting some help from nationally known Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One hundred state senators and Assembly members have signed a letter supporting increased taxes on the richest New Yorkers to help close the state’s $13 billion budget gap.