Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Chief

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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Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has died at the age of 91 after a battle with cancer.    

Bruno, a colorful, larger than life character who once rode his own horse into the venue where state Capitol reporters were presenting their annual gridiron show, was leader of the Republican dominated State Senate from 1994 to 2008.

Bruno was known for his ability to bring money - millions of dollars - and major economic projects to his district. A stadium in Troy is named for him, among other enterprises that bear his name.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Schools in coronavirus hot spots in New York City will shut down beginning Tuesday under an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor also threatened Monday to close down religious gatherings, including large Orthodox Jewish events, in the hot spots and said the state will take over enforcement of rules, including mask wearing and social distancing.  

Cuomo said he’s taking the steps because he does not want the hot spots to spread to the rest of the state. He compared them to embers in dry grass.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

State officials have unveiled a free smartphone app that will be able to notify someone if they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The COVID-19 Alert NY app will alert the user if they came within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for the virus, and if they were in proximity of that person for more than 10 minutes.

Governor Cuomo's office

Clusters of the coronavirus in parts of New York are causing concern, and while the outbreaks remain isolated for now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not ruled out shutting down parts of the economy again if other measures don’t work.

Business leaders, however, say many employers will not survive another lengthy closure, and they're asking for a plan that does not include a major economic shuttering.  


New York’s business leaders are among those warning that the state’s child care system is broken and on the verge of collapse, and they are calling for emergency and long term relief from the state and federal governments.

Governor Cuomo's office

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s acting “aggressively” to control clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks in 20 zip codes in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.

The average rate of transmission of the virus in the state remains one of the lowest in the nation, at just over 1% . But in some neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens and in Rockland and Orange Counties the incidences of coronavirus are continuing to spike.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he’s immediately taking steps to control several cluster outbreaks of COVID-19 in portions of New York state, including installing rapid testing machines at virus hot spots.

The overall rate of the infection rate for the coronavirus in New York was 1.5% Sunday. That is up after weeks of the average hovering at or below 1%. The governor says just 10 ZIP codes, though, are responsible for that increase, and in some of those areas, the rate of infection is as high as 30%.


New York state’s environmental agency will begin enforcing a ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retailers on Oct. 19, more than seven months after the law took effect.

The law banning the single-use bags was to have taken effect on March 1, with a grace period before actual enforcement began. But the COVID-19 pandemic, and an unsuccessful lawsuit brought by the plastics industry, delayed its implementation.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said that changes next month.

Governor Cuomo's office

Governor Andrew Cuomo is responding to critics who say the state needs to make decisions on how to close its COVID-19 related multi billion dollar deficit. He says the federal government needs to provide relief, because it was the not the state’s fault.

Governor Cuomo's office

Saying he does not trust the federal government, Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York State will conduct its own review of any COVID-19 vaccines that are deemed to be ready for use.