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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Governor Cuomo's office


Gov.  Andrew Cuomo calls a federal Department of Justice probe into New York state’s nursing home policies at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic “political” and says President Donald Trump’s Justice Department is singling out democratic governors.

The probe will include examining a March 25 directive from Cuomo that required nursing homes to re-admit residents who had been infected with COVID-19 when they were discharged from the hospitals. Critics say that led to unnecessary deaths in the homes.

Dan Clark New York Now

As schools in New York State grapple with reopening plans during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also facing a temporary 20% cut in state funding, that could become permanent.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget office is withholding one-fifth of the aid owed to school districts in the first of several payments owed to schools over the course of the school year.

Governor Cuomo's office


Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls changes in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that ease testing standards for Americans exposed to someone with COVID-19 “political propaganda,” and says he won’t follow them.

The CDC guidelines on who should be tested for the coronavirus now say that anyone who has had "close contact", within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 infected individual for at least 15 minutes, should get tested.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed executive orders that he said will help ensure safe and secure voting in November’s elections. 

Cuomo said the fall elections will be one of the most critical and controversial in modern history, and he’s already signed bills approved by the state Legislature that will allow the COVID-19 pandemic to be an authorized reason for voting by absentee ballot, among other things. 

Now, the governor is taking those measures a step further.

freeimages.com/Jennifer Marr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that there won’t be any high school football games, wrestling matches or ice hockey contests this fall.

The governor did issue new guidelines to phase in matches for other types of school sports, however.

Cuomo says sports that are considered “low risk,” including tennis, soccer, field hockey, cross country track and swimming, can resume as early as Sept. 21 and teams can compete with other schools within their own region of the state. 

New York's ban on single-use plastic bags has been upheld in State Supreme Court after the plastics industry challenged it, and it will now take effect in September.

The lawsuit was filed by a plastic bag manufacturer, as well as two grocery and bodega store owners. They argued that the law is unconstitutional, saying, among other things, that it unfairly gives advantages to makers of paper and reusable bags at their expense.

New York will immediately allow all voters in the state to request a mail-in ballot for the November elections.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed bills into law Thursday that, among other things, allow all eligible voters to cite the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to vote absentee.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the rate of positive coronavirus tests was below 1% for the 12th day in New York. But he also said it’s not time to be complacent and predicted there could be worse to come this fall. 

Cuomo said it’s “great news” that the infection rate was at 0.78% for Tuesday. The results of 80,425 coronavirus tests showed 631 New Yorkers tested positive. Six people died of the disease. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during a brief video address at the first night of the Democratic National Convention, spoke of New York’s struggles overcoming the coronavirus, and why he thinks Joe Biden needs to win the presidential race in November.

Cuomo said New Yorkers listened to their “better angels” and obeyed shutdown orders, wore masks and socially distanced in an effort to transform the state from the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic to having one of the lowest rates of transmission in the nation. He also thanked the 30,000 medical workers who came to the aid of the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he plans to use his prime-time speech at tonight's Democratic National Convention to reinforce the idea that government, and its leadership, matters.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that. 

“Ask yourself, 'When was the last time government was as essential as it did today?’ ” Cuomo said. “Maybe the last time we went to war, maybe the Depression. 

“Government is making life-and-death decisions,” Cuomo continued. “It’s going to reshape the way that people think about government for a long time.”