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.  

Albany, New York – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is due to release it's final version of a draft environmental impact statement on hydro fracking in New york. The report is being eagerly anticipated by both environmentalists and the natural gas industry.

Albany, New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a State of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, which could hit the state as early as the weekend.

Governor Cuomo says he's declared a state of emergency and is "activating all levels of state government" in the face of potential impact from Irene, and has ordered all state agencies to be prepared for any situation. He says the state's emergency management center outside Albany will be operating 24 hours a day.

Albany, New York – State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says he's "not shutting the door" on holding a longer public comment period and new public hearings on hydro fracking.

Albany, New York – State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says despite the big drop on Wall Street Monday, he believes the state's massive pension fund can withstand market swings.

DiNapoli, as State Comptroller, is sole trustee of the state's multi billion dollar pension fund. In a statement, the Comptroller says while the over 630 point drop in the stock market is a "concern", he thinks the fund can deal with market swings , saying as a long term global investor, he has "long term confidence in the global marketplace".

Albany, NY – Some of the major provisions of the federal health care reform act don't take effect until 2014, but New York State has already begun to figure out how to comply with the changes, which will require every state to set up a health insurance policy exchange for the uninsured.

Albany, New York – The push to change teacher hiring rules to end the policy of last hired first fired got a boost when Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a bill to extend the proposal to all schools in the state.

Albany, New York –
A major New York State union is going on the air with televisions ads to try to convince state lawmakers to continue a tax on the wealthy instead of adopting Governor Cuomo's billion and half dollars in school aid cuts.

Matt Ryan, New York Now

Albany, New York –
In a move that veteran lawmakers called "unprecedented", Governor Andrew Cuomo sent his Lieutenant Governor, Robert Duffy, to defend his proposed school aid cuts to a joint hearing of the legislature's education and fiscal committees.

Albany, New York –
A coalition of groups that traditionally oppose spending cuts spoke out against Governor Cuomo's budget, which seeks to slash $10 billion dollars from schools, health care and state services. Cuomo, who has begun touring the state to promote his spending plan, says he's undeterred.

Albany, New York –
Governor Andrew Cuomo released a budget plan Tuesday that he said would shake up the way budgets are made in Albany, but the governor left some questions unanswered in his spending plan.