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.

Today marks the easing of many COVID-19 restrictions in New York state, but at the State Capitol, many of those rules remain in place, including mandatory masks in some circumstances.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that New York will adopt the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on masks on Wednesday.

Fully vaccinated people will no longer have to wear masks outdoors or indoors and won’t have to socially distance.

Many COVID-19 pandemic restrictions will end on Wednesday in New York, including capacity restrictions for some sporting events, indoor gatherings, and offices. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who set the date for the reopening earlier this month, is not yet ready to abide by new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that say fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks in most settings.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo fueled new controversy Thursday over sexual harassment allegations against him when he sought to redefine the definition of sexual harassment in state law during a question-and-answer session with reporters in the Bronx.

Cuomo is accused of kissing and hugging women without their permission, and in one instance, groping under a female aide’s shirt. He has admitted that he also said things to female staffers, including questions about their dating habits, that might have made them uncomfortable.

It’s been over two months since New York Attorney General Tish James began investigating multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The governor, who at first expressed confidence in James’ ability to be objective, has increasingly questioned her motives.

Saying she and other adult sexual abuse survivors deserve their day in court, Marissa Hoechstetter is looking to the New York State Legislature to make that possible.

Hoechstetter said former Columbia University doctor Robert Hadden sexually abused her in 2010, when he conducted routine medical exams during her pregnancy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that all State and City University of New York students will have to get a COVID-19 vaccination if they want to enroll in the fall semester.

The governor also announced other incentives to get more New Yorkers vaccinated as the rate of those getting their shots continues to decline.

Cuomo said the SUNY and CUNY boards will vote to enact the requirement at their next meetings.


The New York State Senate held a hearing this week on a measure that would seal conviction records for up to 2 million New Yorkers who have committed serious crimes and served time in prison for them.

Senators heard from people who were formerly imprisoned or on probation who said the barriers to housing and employment they encounter because of their convictions have led to a form of “perpetual punishment."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Wednesday signed the New York Health and Essential Rights, or HERO Act, calling it “a historic step forward for working people.”

The law sets enforceable health and safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19 and future airborne infectious diseases in the workplace. Supporters held a celebratory news conference on Zoom on Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that Broadway shows will reopen on Sept. 14, and that there will be new rules for attending baseball games, including incentives for the unvaccinated.

Cuomo said tickets will go on sale May 6 for Broadway shows.

The governor also announced new rules for Yankees and Mets baseball games.

Vaccinated ticket holders can sit in adjacent seats with a group of fully vaccinated family and friends.