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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.

Ways to Connect

Governor Cuomo's office

Hours before President Donald Trump announced his choice to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, Gov. Andrew Cuomo railed against the selection. He also signed an executive order to help protect the reproductive choice rights of New York’s women should a future court overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The jury could begin deliberating as early as next Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of the former head of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs.

Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, the former head of SUNY Polytechnic College, is on trial along with three upstate developers on bid-rigging charges.

Over the weekend, the prosecution offered Kaloyeros a plea bargain, which he refused.

President Donald Trump is set to announce his choice for a new Supreme Court justice, which he’s said could eventually result in the reversal of the abortion rights case Roe v. Wade.

New York has had legal abortion since 1970, three years before the landmark ruling. But advocates and many Democratic politicians say it’s not enough, and it could become an issue in this year’s governor’s race.

Matt Ryan, New York Now

Barbara Underwood has been New York’s attorney general for just over seven weeks now, after her predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, resigned after he was accused of physically abusing women he was dating. Schneiderman has said the encounters were consensual. 

WXXI’s Karen DeWitt sat down with Underwood, in an interview with public radio and television,  to talk about some of the very high-profile work that the office is continuing to pursue under her leadership, including the lawsuit by her office against the Trump Foundation.

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new system for state government to respond to requests made under the Freedom of Information law. It would allow citizens and members of the media seeking government documents to go to one online site to request information from multiple state agencies.

The new portal offers a form for document requests. The requests can be sent to up to three state agencies at one time. It also lists the contact information for staff members who handle FOIL requests at 59 state agencies and public authorities.

Karen DeWitt

New York’s union leaders are condemning the U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of a worker to not pay union dues. But a newly passed state law might mitigate the effects of Janus v. AFSCME.

The court, in a 5-4 ruling, agreed with Illinois state worker Mark Janus that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was compelled to have $45 a month deducted from his paycheck by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, to pay for collective bargaining even though Janus did not want to be part of the union.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced steps that New York officials will take to help detained immigrant children separated from their families, but he said he isn’t getting a lot of details from the federal government.

Cuomo said state agencies will be providing support services, including health and mental health services, for immigrant children discharged from detention into a family member’s care.

“Whatever they need,” Cuomo said. “Legal services, educational services, counseling.”

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday to begin mapping out a route for a train from major transit hubs in midtown Manhattan to LaGuardia airport.

Cuomo said the project, known as the LaGuardia AirTrain, is an effort to make up for years of neglect in the state’s and the nation’s infrastructure.

“How can you not have a rail train to the city from a New York airport?” Cuomo asked an audience gathered at the World Trade Center. “It’s incomprehensible.”

The 2018 legislative session ended quietly, as Democrats and Republicans in the legislature failed to agree on major issues and exited the Capitol until next January. Although Governor Cuomo is now leaving the door open to calling them back.

Governor Cuomo says there are as many as 700 immigrant children in child care services in New York State, and he’s demanding that state health care professionals have access to them, saying under New York’s constitution, the state is responsible for their welfare.

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