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.

With less than a week to go to the budget deadline, Governor Andrew Cuomo says talks are proceeding in “good faith” with the legislature, but he says many differences still remain. And he indicated that lingering resentments over the failed Amazon deal might be coloring the discussions. 

Gambling casino companies are pressing Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to allow them to open gaming centers in New York City as part of the new state budget. There are a number of obstacles to overcome, but the proposal may seem tempting to lawmakers, who are strapped for cash this year.

The chance to include legalization of adult recreational marijuana in the state budget is fading, now that Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to be backing away from the proposal.

A push to enact a statewide system of public campaign finance for political races appears to be floundering in New York. But advocates have not given up on a proposal that they say would change the culture of a state capitol where many lawmakers have grown dependent on donations from special interest groups.

With just a little over two weeks to go before the state budget is due, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top budget officials say they have to revise their spending proposal, now that President Donald Trump has released a budget plan that they say could devastate New York’s health care system.

They’re pressuring the Legislature to rein in their spending proposals as well.

New York Attorney General Tish James said she’s reached an agreement with the state Legislature to amend the state’s double jeopardy laws to make it easier to go after people accused of crimes in New York, even if a president pardons them.

The measure is aimed at holding associates of President Donald Trump -- including his former campaign director Paul Manafort and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen -- accountable for crimes they may have committed within New York’s boundaries, even if the president pardons them of federal crimes that they have been convicted of.

Budget talks are intensifying in Albany as the deadline nears, and they are revealing tensions and divides between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the all-Democratic State Legislature.

Cuomo began the week with a list of items that he said he needs in the state budget in order for him to agree to it.

They include a property tax cap, criminal justice reforms and a congestion pricing plan for parts of Manhattan to help pay for fixing public transit.

With three weeks to go until the April 1 budget deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is drawing some lines in the sand on items that he said must be in the spending plan, like a permanent property tax cap.

But Cuomo said a proposal to legalize the adult use of marijuana likely will not be finished in time.

New Yorkers will have to wait until after the state budget to see legal sales of marijuana in the state – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that it’s not likely to be agreed to by the spending plan’s April 1 deadline.  

Cuomo said it’s going to take longer than the next three weeks to set up a complicated system of production and distribution of cannabis and decide on the competing ideas for how to use the revenue from sales.

He also said there’s been some blowback from opponents and concerns about protecting children from having access to the drug.

Students in the public university systems rallied this week at the State Capitol to end what they say is a built-in flaw in the state’s student aid policies.

They say it’s costing the State and City University systems nearly $150 million a year. But their requests for more money come at a time when the state’s finances are tightening. 

Pages