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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, 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. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Gov. Andrew Cuomo again expanded the vaccine eligibility requirements in New York to include anyone over the age of 65.

Cuomo said Tuesday that the state's following new federal guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I don't want New Yorkers to think that we are not doing everything we can to make them eligible for the vaccine, because I want to keep people in New York as calm as we can keep people in these anxious times,” Cuomo said. “And I don't want people to think that people in any other state are eligible when they're not.”

BigStock/Max2

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to mandate internet service providers in New York to offer high-speed internet to low-income consumers at $15 per month, and is seeking to create a fund for families that can’t afford it at that rate.

Cuomo, delivering the second part of his State of the State address Tuesday, said cost remains a significant barrier to high-speed internet, despite increased access to the service.

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.

File photo

After a day of chaos in Washington, D.C., U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Thursday that President Donald Trump should not serve out the rest of his term and should be immediately removed from office by Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s Cabinet.

Schumer, who’s set to become the next leader of the Senate after Democrats pulled off a pair of wins in Georgia this week, said Congress should step in if Pence does not act.

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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