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.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office file photo

Tenants in New York will be granted another reprieve in the new year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, with an extension of an executive order that prevents landlords from evicting tenants who’ve faced financial hardship both during and before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension, however, may be moot: Democrats in the state Legislature are considering a special session next week to codify and expand a moratorium on residential evictions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a pre-holiday message for New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic: It’s OK to celebrate, but to do it smartly to help prevent the spread of infections.

Cuomo also announced that some fans might be allowed into Buffalo’s Bills Stadium for an upcoming playoff game.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says some New York hospitals have started testing COVID-19 patients for the presence of a mutated form of the coronavirus discovered in the United Kingdom that has led to a shutdown in that country.

All three airlines that fly from the U.K. to New York have now agreed to test passengers for the virus before they board the planes.

Matt Ryan New York Now

The relief package that Congress approved Monday did not include a financial bailout for states hit hard by the pandemic, leaving New York with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit going into the new year.

The leader of the state Assembly said now is the time to push ahead with new taxes on the wealthiest to start making up for the loss. 

The state’s deficit is at least $8 billion, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget office, though the governor said it could be closer to $15 billion.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

The New York State Assembly held a brief session at the State Capitol to reauthorize remote meetings for 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said it’s still possible that a session will be held before 2020 ends on more substantive issues, such as raising taxes on the wealthy and protecting tenants. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

British Airways, Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have agreed to test passengers on flights from the United Kingdom to New York City for COVID-19 after a mutated and more contagious strain of the virus led to a Christmas lockdown there.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said ultimately, he’d like the U.S. to join 40 other countries that have imposed a complete travel ban on arrivals from the U.K. 

Governor Cuomo's office


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday predicted that New York will not see a second economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also offered some tongue-in-cheek projections about another event: the final games of the NFL season and the fate of the Buffalo Bills.

The governor spent the week backing away from statements he made on Monday, when he warned that the state was headed for a second shutdown, similar to the one last spring, to keep the coronavirus from spreading further.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dialing back on statements that New York state could be headed for a second pandemic shutdown, saying if people control their behavior, it could be avoided.

The governor also said he’s advancing funds to cash-strapped state contractors that are providing essential services.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is floating the possibility that New York may have to raise taxes to close a pandemic-related budget gap, and his remarks are encouraging those who have long been advocates of imposing higher taxes on the wealthy.

Governor Cuomo's office

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday that the state is headed for another lockdown if the rising coronavirus infection rate doesn’t slow.