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.  

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that all State and City University of New York students will have to get a COVID-19 vaccination if they want to enroll in the fall semester.

The governor also announced other incentives to get more New Yorkers vaccinated as the rate of those getting their shots continues to decline.

Cuomo said the SUNY and CUNY boards will vote to enact the requirement at their next meetings.


The New York State Senate held a hearing this week on a measure that would seal conviction records for up to 2 million New Yorkers who have committed serious crimes and served time in prison for them.

Senators heard from people who were formerly imprisoned or on probation who said the barriers to housing and employment they encounter because of their convictions have led to a form of “perpetual punishment."

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Wednesday signed the New York Health and Essential Rights, or HERO Act, calling it “a historic step forward for working people.”

The law sets enforceable health and safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19 and future airborne infectious diseases in the workplace. Supporters held a celebratory news conference on Zoom on Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that Broadway shows will reopen on Sept. 14, and that there will be new rules for attending baseball games, including incentives for the unvaccinated.

Cuomo said tickets will go on sale May 6 for Broadway shows.

The governor also announced new rules for Yankees and Mets baseball games.

Vaccinated ticket holders can sit in adjacent seats with a group of fully vaccinated family and friends.

Governor Cuomo's office

The New York State Legislature approved measures that will require hospitals and nursing homes to meet minimum staffing levels of nurses and other health care staff.

Measures mandating minimum staffing at health care facilities have been around for several years, but the spotlight on stressed and understaffed hospitals and nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic finally prompted the bill’s passage.

Senate sponsor and Health Committee chair Gustavo Rivera spoke before the vote.

Saying the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t over, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed a measure passed by the New York State Legislature that extends a moratorium on evictions through Aug. 31. 

Gino Fanelli/CITY file photo

Tenants in New York who continue to experience financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic would be safe from eviction until the end of August under a bill approved Monday by both chambers of the state Legislature.

The bill would extend the current moratorium on residential and commercial evictions in New York until Aug. 31. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that some remaining COVID-19 restrictions in New York will end in a couple of weeks, including capacity limits on most events, and in some cases, the 6-foot social distancing rule.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York City restaurants can operate at 75% of capacity beginning May 7, bringing rules there in line with the rest of the state.

While COVID-19 restrictions are easing for restaurants and bars across the state, the industry, hit hard by the pandemic, said more needs to be done.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing resistance to lingering COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, said Thursday that the disease is not yet conquered, and urged caution on reopening society too quickly.