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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

The state budget is due in 3 1/2 weeks, but the biggest push at the Capitol is for a change that is not a spending item. It’s a measure to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as children, not adults, when they are charged with serious crimes.

Many leading legislators say, for them, the issue is personal.

Those who support raising the age when New Yorkers are treated as adults in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18 held a rally Tuesday at the Capitol. Many of the leading Democrats in the Legislature spoke, including Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Disability rights advocates say they’re fed up with what they say is a lack of response from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on funding for services that help them stay in their communities, including a lack of funds to pay home health care workers adequate wages.

At a protest outside the governor’s offices Tuesday, Bruce Darling with the Center for Disability Rights displayed an award that the group fashioned for Cuomo that features a 5-inch gold screw on a trophy pedestal.

The state Assembly held a hearing Monday on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to spend $8 billion in subsidies to keep three upstate nuclear power plants operating for the next 12 years. But no one from the Cuomo administration showed up.

The plan, announced last summer as part of an overall state energy plan, spends nearly $8 billion to keep three nuclear power plants in upstate New York running for at least another dozen years. Cuomo’s energy officials have said it’s part of a bridge to generate half of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Karen DeWitt

New York’s health care system is bracing for big changes in the Affordable Health Care Act. No one knows for certain how it will  be altered, but it will almost certainly cost the state a significant amount of money.

Talk of a Medicaid block grant as a possible replacement to Obama Care has surfaced in Congress, in the form of a  memo leaked to Politco.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Reform advocates are taking exception to remarks made by Governor Cuomo, who said there already is enough oversight of potentially corrupt activities in Albany.

The governor has proposed a new inspector general, answerable to him, to look into future economic development contracts forged with private companies.

Nine former Cuomo associates have either admitted to crimes or are facing trial on charges including bribery and bid rigging in connection with the governor’s economic development projects.

Governor Cuomo spoke at the Sidney Albert Jewish Community Center in Albany on Wednesday Edit | Remove

Governor Cuomo has announced he’s visiting Israel this coming weekend, to pursue economic development projects and to bring a “message of solidarity.” Cuomo also spoke out against recent acts of anti-Semitism at the Jewish Community Center in Albany.

Just one month before the state budget is due, numerous interest groups are converging on the State Capitol, asking that they be included in the budget.

Among the more impassioned efforts is one from developmentally disabled people and their caregivers. They are seeking $45 million in state subsidies to pay workers more money to comply with the rising minimum wage in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature last year phased in an increase that will eventually lead to a $15 hourly wage in New York City and a $12.50 wage upstate.

A new poll finds that in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s numbers are rising while President Donald Trump’s are sinking.

For the first time in two-and-a-half years, Cuomo’s job approval rating is at 50 percent, after stagnating in the mid-40s since summer 2014. Steve Greenberg, spokesman for Siena College polling, said 60 percent of New Yorkers now say they have a favorable view of Cuomo, the largest number in two years.

WMHT

Judith Enck, the former regional administrator of the EPA under President Barack Obama, said the new head of the EPA under President Donald Trump threatens to roll back major environmental regulations, including climate change actions and pollution protections.

In an interview for public radio and television, Enck explained why she took the unprecedented step of signing on to a letter, along with hundreds of former EPA staff, protesting Scott Pruitt.

The Trump administration’s decision to rescind protections for transgender students will not affect New York state, according to the state’s education commissioner and legal experts. 

But they said the action nevertheless sends a “terrible message” to transgender teens.

New York state has a law known as the Dignity for All Students Act, approved by former Gov. David Paterson and an all-Democratic-led state Legislature in 2010. It was originally aimed at preventing bullying of gay and lesbian students.

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