WXXI AM News

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.  

Matt Ryan New York Now

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined in a telephone news conference Monday by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to try to put pressure on Congress to finally resolve a stalemate over a federal aid package for cash-strapped states affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York doesn’t have enough money in its budget to meet a requirement in President Donald Trump’s executive order to fund $100-a-week in additional unemployment benefits.

Trump issued the executive order on Saturday. It would give unemployed Americans $400 in additional payments a week, less than the $600-a-week that expired July 31.

States, however, would have to finance one quarter of the weekly $400 payments. Trump told reporters that states have the money to do that.

The New York State Legislature on Monday held the first of two hearings on the thousands of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

Questions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, focused on a controversial March 25 directive that required nursing homes to take back COVID-19 patients from hospitals.

WXXI photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he will announce later this week on what terms schools can reopen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But he put the responsibility for the details back on schools, saying they need to better respond to the concerns of parents. 

Dan Clark New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’ll decide next week on whether schools can partially or fully reopen in September.

Meanwhile, many school districts have been busy figuring out safe ways to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some have already made some preliminary decisions.

Cuomo said he’s waited until early August to make a final decision because he wants the latest data available on the rate of transmission of the virus. Cuomo, speaking in mid-July, said the reopening will be guided by science.

WXXI photo

School board members in New York are concerned that they might not be able to successfully fully or partially reopen schools without an infusion of cash from the state or federal governments.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to New York’s congressional delegation, urging them not to settle for a federal stimulus package that does not include aid to states hard hit by the coronavirus.

The plea comes as talks between House Democrats and Senate Republicans in Washington are down to the wire.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted angrily Monday to news that a new plan to be released by Republicans in the U.S. Senate will not include aid to states and local governments hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Republicans, who hold the majority in the U.S. Senate, are unlikely to propose additional money in their federal stimulus proposal for state and local governments suffering economic impact from the pandemic. 

Democrats, who are in charge in the House, want to include up to $1 trillion in aid.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that he’ll take legal action against the federal government after the U.S. Justice Department admitted in court papers Thursday that it was untruthful in its rationale for banning New Yorkers’ access to the Trusted Travel Program.  

The dispute between New York and the Trump Administration began in 2019, when the state allowed undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver's licenses. It also barred the federal government from obtaining information about the immigrants through those licenses.

The New York State Legislature is approving a bill that would take away the licenses of real estate agents who engage in housing discrimination because of a person’s race.

The measure was prompted by an expose in Newsday about systematic housing discrimination on Long Island, where brokers steered white potential homebuyers to white neighborhoods, and Black and brown prospective buyers to areas where African Americans and Latinos dominated.

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