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 is adding eight more states to a travel advisory list for states with high levels of the coronavirus. Visitors from California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee will now be required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The new restrictions bring the total number of states included in the travel advisory to 16. New Yorkers who travel to those states will have to self-quarantine when they return.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York is offering help to states like Texas and Arizona that are struggling with spiking COVID-19 infections.

At the same time, the governor said he’s talking with airport officials and federal border control officers on how best to enforce a travel advisory that requires travelers from states with high rates of the virus to quarantine for 14 days.  


Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget office is temporarily withholding 20% of a state aid payment owed to several cities in New York, citing the COVID-19 pandemic-related revenue shortfall and budget deficit plaguing state government.

Cuomo and his budget director have been saying for months that if Congress does not provide another relief package for state and local governments hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, then the state will have to cut funding to schools, hospitals and cities by one-fifth.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are imposing mandatory quarantines for travelers from several states with high rates of the coronavirus, including Florida and Texas, effective midnight Wednesday.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined Wednesday via remote feeds by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. 

“We’re announcing today a joint travel advisory. People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days,” Cuomo said.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo is contemplating a quarantine order on travelers to New York from other states with high rates of the coronavirus, including Florida.

The governor, in several cable news interviews over the past couple of days, has talked about the possibility of imposing a 14-day quarantine for those who travel from the 20-plus states where the rate of the virus is on the rise. He spoke about it Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Many of New York’s cities begin their new fiscal year July 1, and they are struggling to balance their budgets after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent protests in some cities are straining budgets even further.

Meanwhile, there’s a growing movement in the state Legislature to raise taxes on the wealthy to help balance the state’s budget and to help cities out.  

Cities across the state are facing a severe budget crunch, much of it due to the 2½-month shutdown of the economy and the corresponding loss of revenue.  

NYS Senate

Western New York Sen. Robert Ortt is the New York State Senate's new minority leader.

Ortt replaces John Flanagan, who is leaving at the end of the month to be a lobbyist for Northwell Health. After 34 years in the Legislature, Flanagan announced earlier this year that he is not seeking re-election.  

Flanagan previously held the post of majority leader, but in 2018, Democrats took over the Senate after a century of nearly exclusive GOP rule. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

In his final daily coronavirus briefing Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s grateful that the virus is at an all-time low in New York, but he worries about rising infection rates elsewhere in the United States. 

The governor did not open his briefing to news media, and he did it without his usual PowerPoint presentation -- and without his staff. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ended over three months of continuous daily coronavirus briefings Friday. The briefings became a cultural phenomenon and made the governor nationally famous, as New Yorkers and many across America staying home to try to stop the spread of the virus tuned in to what became a daily ritual.

“The journey is over,” the governor said Thursday. “I hope the journey stays over.”

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this Friday, June 19 -- known as Juneteenth in honor of the end of slavery in the U.S. -- will be a holiday for state workers.

He also said he’ll work to make it a statewide holiday for 2021. 

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves were finally freed in Texas, the last state in the nation to comply with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Cuomo said it’s even more important to honor the day in the era of worldwide protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.