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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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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.

Sam Kmack, New York Now

The often-reticent New York Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, showed a different side of himself when the lifelong Star Trek fan visited a museum in New York’s North Country that replicates the fictional Starship Enterprise.

It’s a Trekkie’s dream — sitting in Capt. Kirk’s chair, standing on a transporter pod, holding an actual communicator prop from the television show. Heastie got to do all of that when he visited the Star Trek Set Tour museum in Ticonderoga as part of a tour of New York’s North Country.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed more details this week about how the newly named Mario Cuomo Bridge on the Thruway over the Hudson River will be financed.

We know that the former Tappan Zee Bridge will be replaced by the new Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge, in honor of the current governor’s late father. But we don’t know the final price tag of the project, which spans the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties.

Governor Cuomo's office

Planned Parenthood leaders in New York are anxiously monitoring the actions in the Republican-led Congress to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and they say in all versions, their health care centers face big reductions.

Robin Chappelle Golston with Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, the lobby group for the state's Planned Parenthood clinics, is watching the attempts to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare, with trepidation.

She said it’s hard to follow, and she thinks that’s deliberate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his first remarks since President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he was banning transgender people from the military, condemned the action as “terrible" and “hateful,” and said it is contrary to American values.

Cuomo, speaking before a meeting of the business group ABNY, said it’s “true” that you can base a political movement on “fear and negativity,” but he said the divisiveness is “corrosive” and comes at a “terrible price.”

Matt Ryan New York Now

The Senate is moving ahead on the repeal and possibly the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, and policy makers in New York are bracing for the worst.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking Tuesday on the Senate floor, painted a grim picture of the current state of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, saying it’s caused pain “for literally millions of families.”

“Premiums have skyrocketed,” McConnell said. “Insurance options have declined.”

He said in some states, there is only one carrier available — and in some cases, there are none.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a series of what he calls “aggressive actions” to expand voter registration, saying he wants to “help combat low voter participation” amid “troubling” attempts by the federal government that might restrict voter access. But a nearly century-old voting rights organization said the governor did not go far enough.

Cuomo, in an executive order, directed all state agencies to mail or provide electronic voter registration forms to members of the public who have had contact with the agencies.

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