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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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Karen DeWitt/New York State Public Radio

The New York State Capitol is bracing for potential violence and armed protesters in the coming days after FBI warnings about significant threats in online chatter from white supremacy and other far-right groups.

State Police said there are no specific credible threats against the building in downtown Albany but are nevertheless stepping up patrols and taking precautions to harden security.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday addressed major problems plaguing the state’s vaccine sign-up website, saying there are vastly more New Yorkers eligible to be vaccinated than there are vaccines.

Thousands of frustrated New Yorkers spent hours trying to sign up at the state health department website, which repeatedly crashed or shut people out before they could complete sign-up forms. Others spent hours fruitlessly on hold on a state hotline before being disconnected.

Some did get through, though, and all state facilities offering vaccines are now booked through April.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

One day after announcing that five new state-run vaccination sites are opening this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is warning that appointments for the limited number of vaccines at those sites are already booked through April. 

On Wednesday, Cuomo’s office announced that large-scale vaccination sites at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, the Westchester County Center, the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, State University of New York at Albany and Jones Beach are opening this week and will vaccinate thousands of New Yorkers in the coming months.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the last of four speeches outlining his 2021 plans, detailed billions of dollars in new and ongoing infrastructure projects that he hopes can provide jobs in the post-pandemic economy.

Cuomo on Thursday laid out a vast array of projects, including plans to create a new West Side transit hub in Manhattan that would rebuild the rest of the dilapidated Penn Station and revamp the New York Port Authority bus complex, which he described as an “eyesore.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday unveiled an ambitious plan to bring more green energy and what he said will be thousands of jobs to New York state.

Plans include new solar farms, offshore wind turbines and more transmission lines across the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo detailed his plans to use rapid coronavirus testing in 2021 to reopen restaurants, theaters and arts venues -- including New York City’s Tribeca Film festival in June -- even before most New Yorkers are vaccinated.

The governor, in a second State of the State speech on Tuesday, also said he’ll push for a bill to require internet providers to offer deep discounts to low-income residents. 

Governor Cuomo's office

  

During the first of four State of the State speeches, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will be the top priority.  

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after nearly a week’s delay, is scheduled to deliver his State of the State speech on Monday. He said in the midst of a worsening pandemic and economic losses, the message will be a bit brighter now that Democrats are set to control both houses of Congress, and President-elect Joe Biden said he’ll push for a bailout for states like New York that were hit hard by the pandemic.  

SHUTTERSTOCK

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, bowing to pressure from local governments, is agreeing to expand the state’s vaccination sites for front-line health care workers. 

Cuomo initially permitted only hospitals to give out vaccines. But many hospitals were unprepared, and the rate of vaccination has been low, with only about half of the doses used nearly four weeks after the first orders arrived.

New York City and the state’s counties pushed to be included in the distribution system, saying they have experience in vaccination programs and have been preparing for a pandemic for years.

The New York State Legislature began the 2021 session with a strengthened Democratic base and intensifying challenges, including the ongoing pandemic and the growing budget deficit.  

2021 is starting out a lot like most of 2020. As they have since March, most state lawmakers met remotely on Wednesday, and that practice will continue as the pandemic in New York again worsens.

Only the legislative leaders and a few key lawmakers and staff were in the Senate and Assembly chambers at any one time for the day’s proceedings.

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