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Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Correspondent

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.

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Test Scores Inch Up

1 hour ago

The results of this year’s Common Core related standardized tests show scores for New York’s school children inching up. Around one fifth of the children boycotted the tests altogether, due to continued controversy over the Common Core learning standards.

Former 2010 gubernatorial candidate and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino has been removed from the Buffalo Board of Education in a ruling by the state education commissioner issued Thursday.

New Yorkers who sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act exchanges for individuals will see their premiums rise by an average of 14 percent, now that the Cuomo administration has approved rate increases for insurers in the exchanges.

Part of the increase is due to worries and uncertainties over the future of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

There’s growing pressure on a group of breakaway Democrats in the state Senate to reunite with the mainstream Democrats and form a majority to rule the Senate.

At a rally in Harlem, many of the state’s top African-American politicians, chanting “Andrea, Andrea,” voiced their support for the current leader of Senate Democrats, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, to become the majority leader of the Senate.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a measure that would create new penalties for people who make bomb threats against community centers. The action stems from bomb threats made to Jewish community centers in New York and around the nation last winter. 

Cuomo, in a statement, said anyone who falsely makes bomb threats to a community center can now be charged with a class A misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to a year in jail.

Karen DeWitt

The U.S. Senate plans to use procedural maneuvers to technically stay in session even when senators eventually go home for the Labor Day recess. Their intent is to prevent President Donald Trump from making any unwelcome recess appointments while they are away.

In Albany, taking steps to keep the legislative chambers open is nothing new.

On a day earlier this week, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy stood on the podium in the vast Assembly chamber. She banged the gavel, and began what sounded like an ordinary day in the state Legislature. 

Sam Kmack, New York Now

There’s some good news and some bad news from the state comptroller’s office. The state’s nearly $200 billion pension fund is doing well, thanks in part to the booming stock market, but there are some worrisome signs for the future of New York’s finances.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the pension fund is up this quarter by 2.9 percent, and has increased 11.5 percent from last year. DiNapoli said he likes to think that he and his staff have invested wisely, but he said a major factor is the booming stock market.

The former EPA regional administrator under President Barack Obama said scientists who leaked the report about further evidence of climate change to The New York Times should be commended as “whistleblowers.”Judith Enck, who was with the EPA from 2009 until President Donald Trump took office, said it’s important that the public see the report. 

New York state stands to lose nearly $1 billion if President Donald Trump follows through with his threat to “let Obamacare fail” and cut key health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Trump has the power to end the subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, and he’s said he’ll withhold the payments as a way to pressure the U.S. Senate to find a way to repeal and replace the ACA.

The subsidies help pay for premiums for lower-income Americans.

File photo

The state Board of Elections quietly voted this week to turn over some data about New York’s voters to a Trump administration panel looking at whether there was mass voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.

The move makes New York the first state to comply with the controversial request, after officials initially said they would resist the request.

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