Capitol Bureau

Capitol Bureau correspondent Karen DeWitt reports on what is happening in Albany, and how the decisions made by lawmakers affect you. Karen reports for WXXI and 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 New York Now, the statewide public television program about New York State government seen on WXXI-TV Sundays at 6:30 p.m.  

Progressive-leaning groups said Wednesday that now that more Democrats have been elected to the state Senate, they’ll hold the legislators’ feet to the fire in January to ensure that measures like bail reform and legalizing marijuana are swiftly enacted into law.

NYS Senate

When the state Legislature convenes for the 2019 session, one of the first items that’s expected to be voted on is the Reproductive Health Act. It would codify the abortion rights in the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade into New York state law.

NYS Senate

Democrats are claiming control of the New York State Senate, with several seats now leaning toward the party’s candidates.

In a statement late Tuesday night, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins said while the results of some elections are still being determined,  “at least 32 Senate Democratic Conference members have already won election tonight.” Elections have not yet been called in many races, but Democrats say they could have as many as 39 seats, several more than the minimum needed to rule the chamber.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was awarded a third term in office by voters, who chose him by a wide margin over his opponents.

Cuomo, in a speech to supporters, said he hopes to “vindicate” the trust New Yorkers have placed in him by electing him to another four-year term. Cuomo promised a continuation of the policies he’s championed in his first eight years in office, including more progressive issues, like equality for women and strengthening unions.

But he also said he will continue his more fiscally conservative polices, like holding the line on taxes and state spending.


Polls show the governor’s race in New York is narrowing as the major party candidates made their final pitch to voters.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s lead over his nearest challenger, Republican Marc Molinaro, decreased to 13 points, from 22 points last month. The Siena College poll found that Cuomo’s favorability rating was the lowest in his eight years as governor, with only 45 percent saying that he’s doing a good job in office. 

During the only upstate debate of the 2018 New York governor’s race, the incumbent was criticized for both his record — and his absence.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t attend the Thursday night debate, held at The College of Saint Rose in Albany and sponsored by the League of Women Voters. His campaign said he was busy talking directly to voters in the days before the election and couldn’t come.

NYS Senate

Democrats are leading in the polls in New York’s statewide races for governor, attorney general and comptroller. The most heated contests this Election Day are in the state Senate, where Democrats are trying to win enough seats to take control of the chamber away from Republicans.

The GOP has controlled the state Senate for decades with only a few brief interludes, including in 2009 and 2010, when the Democrats ruled the chamber.

A group that opposes big money in politics has issued a report showing that a handful of billionaires are contributing heavily to Republican congressional campaigns in New York.


One of the major party candidates in the New York race for governor has issued a “civility challenge”, asking his opponents to refrain from all negative ads and attacks from now until Election Day.

North Country Public Radio

The next Attorney General of the state of New York is very likely to make history. Tish James, the Democratic candidate  and current New York City Public Advocate, and the Republican-  bankruptcy lawyer Keith Wofford -are African American. But the two hold different views on many topics.