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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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Matt Ryan New York Now

The New York state legislative session is drawing to a close, and Democrats and Republicans are digging in on the remaining issues of 2017. Among them is a measure to extend the New York City mayor’s control of the public schools, which has now been linked to a number of diverse issues affecting people in the rest of the state.

Games of chicken are common at the Capitol whenever a deadline like the budget or the end of session draws near. This time, it was the state Senate’s turn to go first.

The state budget’s been in place for just less than two months, and already there are signs that tax revenues may be significantly lower than expected. Anticipated federal tax reductions later this year may be one of the reasons.

Late on a Friday before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget division released its financial analysis of the new state budget approved in early April.

If you look closely at the numbers, they show that tax revenues reported in May declined by just over $600 million from projections made as recently as February.

Karen DeWitt

With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, some New York lawmakers are pressing for reform of the state’s economic development contracting process in light of a scandal that’s led to federal corruption charges against several former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed Tuesday to help defeat the state’s Republican members of the House of Representatives when they are up for election next year.

House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced Cuomo at a rally of union workers at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, where he made his remarks.

“We will remove you from office,” Cuomo shouted. “And we are telling you those are not just words — you can bet your political life that New Yorkers will do just that!”

Karen DeWitt

The New York State Legislature is back at the Capitol for three weeks of meetings before the session ends later in June. A number of advocacy groups say there’s an opportunity for lawmakers to act to address some of the harm that they say President Donald Trump’s policies are causing. But divisions in the Legislature may hinder any chance of achievements.

Supporters of a constitutional convention in New York say the amendment deserves prominent placement on the November ballot. Opponents say the entire idea is too risky, and that the state should skip it.

Every 20 years, New Yorkers have the chance to vote on whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. If it’s approved, delegates are elected from each state Senate district, and they meet to decide on potential changes to the state’s constitution.

NRC

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’ll sign an executive order committing the state to meet the Paris climate accord standards, calling President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement “reckless” and “irresponsible.” And the governor says he’s joining with the governors of the states of California and Washington to form a coalition of states that are committed to upholding the Paris Accord.

New York state already has begun a plan to get 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030. But it is not without some controversy.

SUNY

The outgoing chancellor of New York’s state university system said President Donald Trump’s budget, if enacted, would seriously hamper the chances for many of New York’s young people to attend college.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said cuts to programs that help disadvantaged high school students gain the opportunity to attend college, as well as reductions to federal college aid and cuts to medical research, including cancer research, would have a huge negative impact on New York’s colleges.

“It would have a devastating effect on access,” Zimpher said.

President Donald Trump, who’s never been very popular in New York, has reached an all-time low in the opinions of voters, according to a new poll.

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A new poll finds New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at his highest approval rating in three years.

According to the Siena College poll, 61 percent of voters now say they view him favorably overall, and just over half — 51 percent — say they like the job he’s doing in office.

Siena polls spokesman Steve Greenberg said the numbers are part of a trend of rising popularity for the governor in the weeks since President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

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