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.  

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

With Congress still stalled over a new pandemic-related federal relief package, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are warning of dire consequences for the city and the state if they don’t receive funding to help plug major budget deficits.

Karen DeWitt NYS Public Radio

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday offered more details of New York’s COVID-19 vaccination program, saying he expects a state panel to approve the first round of shots by this Friday.

New York state is operating under a new set of metrics to determine pandemic-related shutdowns. But some, including restaurant owners, are finding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new criteria difficult to decipher, and worry it will mean more eateries will soon be out of business.

The state is already using a microcluster approach based on the rising positivity rate of the virus in a region. An area is declared a yellow, orange or red zone, with corresponding restrictions, including limits on public gatherings and potential closures of businesses like gyms and hair salons.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he’s on board with a proposal from Democrats in Congress to offer partial relief for states whose economies have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but he said it would only be a stopgap measure.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

Restaurants in New York are facing a dire winter, now that cold weather has ended most outdoor dining and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has placed further restrictions on indoor dining as COVID-19 rates rise.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that New York will receive 170,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 15, and front-line health care workers and nursing home residents will be among the first to receive it.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

The New York State Thruway Board voted Tuesday to raise tolls by nearly a third for drivers who don’t have an electronic E-ZPass, beginning in January. The change has so far drawn little reaction among the public, but two state senators are against parts of the plan.

The Thruway converted to all cashless tolling in mid-November, after work crews mounted cameras on 70 steel gantries that span the lanes at 58 locations on the toll road.

The remaining toll booths will be removed by next summer, and toll collectors have been reassigned or laid off.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

With New York state’s rate of COVID-19 infection above 4% for the second day in a row, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced new emergency hospital rules to prevent the state’s health care system from being overwhelmed.

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

A state senator is objecting to a proposal by the New York State Thruway Authority to raise tolls by 30% for drivers who don’t have an E-ZPass.

A new poll finds the presidential election is not settled yet for some New Yorkers. Three weeks after Election Day, 20% of respondents say it’s too early to tell who actually won.