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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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Governor Cuomo says the state legislature fell down on the job by leaving town without passing an extension of mayoral control for the New York City schools, and he has not ruled out calling them back for a special session.

Cuomo says by not voting to extend the New York City mayor’s authority over the public schools, they essentially voted for a return to the dysfunction of the old system of multiple community school boards.  

“It is a dereliction of duty,” Cuomo said.

Karen DeWitt

A hearing on whether 2010 gubernatorial candidate and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino should be thrown off his city’s school board began Thursday at the state education department in Albany.

Controversial comments that Paladino made about President Barack and Michelle Obama last December are not the subject of the hearing, but they nevertheless became an issue.

The hearing, convened by State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia, began with the attorney for the Buffalo school board explaining why the board is asking state officials to remove Paladino.

Karen DeWitt

The New York State Assembly and Senate adjourned for the year Wednesday evening, without any deals on extending control of the New York City Mayor’s authority over the public school system, or the continuation of sales taxes in Upstate and Long Island counties. 

Assembly Democrats tied the two issues together in one bill, and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle late Wednesday afternoon said they didn't have any intention of unlinking the two items. 

Matt Ryan New York Now

The New York State Assembly and Senate were preparing to adjourn for the year Wednesday afternoon, without any deals on extending control of the New York City Mayor’s authority over the public school system, or the continuation of sales taxes in Upstate and Long Island counties.

Assembly Democrats have tied the two issues together in one bill, and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle says they don’t have any intention of delinking the two items.

The state Senate is likely to confirm Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nomination to fill the latest vacancy on the state’s highest court.

Judge Paul Feinman would be the first openly gay judge on the Court of Appeals. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the Long Island native was generally praised by committee members.

Karen DeWitt

There was a flurry of activity — along with threats and ultimatums — on Monday at the State Capitol, but there were no agreements on major issues as the session draws to a scheduled close on Wednesday.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse remain hopeful that there could be a vote in the state Senate on a measure to extend the statute of limitations to age 28 for criminal proceedings and age 50 for civil proceedings.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins urged the majority coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats to allow the bill on the floor for a vote.

The state Legislature is approaching its final week of the 2017 session, and agreements on outstanding issues, including mayoral control over the state’s largest school system, remain elusive.

Three separate measures permitting the mayor of New York City to control the city’s public schools were approved in the Senate, extending the program one, two and five years. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named the first openly gay judge to New York’s highest court.

Cuomo has named Paul Feinman, an appellate court judge and LGBT rights advocate, to fill a vacancy on the New York State Court of Appeals. Cuomo spoke in an interview on the cable news station New York 1, where he praised Feinman’s abilities.

“(He) is an extraordinary human being,” Cuomo said, “and would be a great addition to that court.”

Gay rights advocates have urged Cuomo to appoint an openly gay judge to the court, which often deals with LGBT issues.

A faction of breakaway Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Conference has been in the news lately for receiving stipend payments for chairing committees that the Senators in fact did not chair. Here’s a look at the history of this power-brokering group of senators and what may be in store for its future.

Legislative leaders are dug in on remaining issues in the 2017 session and are accusing each other of unfairly linking unrelated items to renewal of mayoral control over New York City schools. Time is running out for scheduled meetings.

The renewal of mayoral control of New York City schools faces a hard deadline. It expires at the end of the month.

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