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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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Karen DeWitt

Two state lawmakers have introduced a bill to make laundry pods less attractive, and have sent a letter to Procter & Gamble, calling on the company to overhaul its colorful liquid detergent “Tide PODs.”

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Senator Brad Hoylman both have young children at home. They say they worry about the attractiveness of the laundry pods, that are brightly colored green, blue and purple, and in some cases smell just like candy, but if ingested can cause severe internal burns and poisoning.

Testimony at the trial of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide, Joe Percoco, has highlighted some practices inside the governor’s office that government reform groups say is at the very least questionable, and possibly even illegal.

Percoco, often described as Cuomo’s right-hand man and a “brother,” is accused of engaging in two separate bribery schemes with companies doing business with the state.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

A Republican candidate for governor is calling for hearings on controversial tourism signs that the Cuomo administration set up on the New York State Thruway and other highways. The federal government said the signs are illegal and will withhold federal funds if they are not removed.

John DeFrancisco, a GOP candidate for governor and the deputy Senate leader, said he wants the state Legislature to hold hearings into the 514 tourism signs posted along numerous highways in the state.

Karen DeWitt

The bribery trial of Governor Cuomo’s former top aide, Joe Percoco, begins its third week in federal court Monday. Cuomo has not commented on the proceedings, and has instead been busy focusing on other topics.

Karen DeWitt

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to call for special elections to be held April 24 to fill two empty Senate seats, according to a state official who confirmed the date. The news is fueling hopes among Senate Democrats that they can gain control of the chamber before the end of the session.

Sen. John DeFrancisco's campaign

A third Republican candidate has announced his intention to run for governor against Democrat Andrew Cuomo. Syracuse-area Sen. John DeFrancisco said he thinks it’s time for a change.

DeFrancisco, who is currently the deputy majority leader, said eight years of Andrew Cuomo is a long time, and someone new needs to take over.

“My real feeling is that enough is enough,” DeFrancisco said. “I’ve got the fire in my belly and I’m going to go for it.”

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

The head of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs said he doesn’t think federal corruption trials now taking place will have any effect on the projects.

Cuomo’s former top aide, Joe Percoco, is on trial in federal district court in Manhattan, charged with engineering two bribery schemes. One of the companies accused of participating in the crimes received funding through the state’s economic development programs. The two top leaders of COR Development are co-defendants in the trial.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut said they intend to soon file a multi-state lawsuit against the federal tax overhaul law over the partial loss of the deduction of state and local taxes.

Cuomo, speaking to reporters in a conference call, said he and the other governors believe the federal tax changes largely eliminating the deductions, known as SALT, are unconstitutional.

Governor Cuomo’s chief of staff was one of the first witnesses to testify at the corruption trial of Governor Cuomo’s former top aide, Joe Percoco. Linda Lacewell described Percoco as a trusted loyal and very senior aide to the governor.

Karen DeWitt

The prosecution and defense offered two very different versions of events in the trial of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former top aide Joe Percoco and three business associates in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Much of the prosecution’s case will hinge on the testimony of another former associate, Todd Howe, who pleaded guilty to several felonies and will be the government’s star witness.

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