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


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.

Matt Ryan New York Now

The New York State Legislature is wrapping up its business for 2020 at the state Capitol this week in a session that is perhaps defined more by what lawmakers are not doing than what they have been doing.

Many of the bills acted on by the Senate and Assembly address the nuts and bolts of government, like renewing sales tax authorization for localities and clarifying existing laws. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 10 states have been added to New York’s quarantine list and four bars have been ordered closed in an attempt to keep the coronavirus from spreading again in the state.

The 10 additional states where travelers into New York are subject to a mandatory quarantine are Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia and Washington, bringing the total to 31 states. Florida, Texas and California are among the states already on the list.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to shut down bars and restaurants in New York state if the establishments and local authorities don’t crack down on rules violations that Cuomo said could spread COVID-19. 

The New York State Legislature is due back in Albany on Monday for a session that is expected to last several days.

A growing number of lawmakers want to see new taxes on the wealthy on the agenda, and they're getting some help from nationally known Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One hundred state senators and Assembly members have signed a letter supporting increased taxes on the richest New Yorkers to help close the state’s $13 billion budget gap.

Matt Ryan New York Now

Governor Andrew Cuomo is imposing new rules on bars and restaurants across the state and limiting the sale of alcohol in some cases, as a way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The New York State Legislature returns to the Capitol next week, and tenants’ rights advocates are pushing for the passage of bills to cancel rent payments and offer other protections for the duration of the coronavirus emergency. They say without some relief, a massive housing and potential homelessness crisis looms.

Tenants’ rights groups protested Wednesday in the Bronx and via Zoom over what they fear is a looming housing crisis for tens of thousands of out-of-work New Yorkers struggling to pay rent. 

Governor Cuomo's office

The New York State Board of Regents on Monday issued preliminary guidelines for schools to reopen as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the final decision on reopening will be data-driven and based on the rate of infection in September and at any time during the upcoming school year.