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 says former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has offered to take over the complex and labor intensive process of contact tracing after someone becomes sick with coronavirus, and is putting up $10.5 million to help do so.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with President Donald Trump for about an hour Tuesday afternoon at the White House, where the governor asked for federal help to boost testing for the coronavirus.

Cuomo, who asked for the meeting, said it was  “functional” and “productive” and focused on the need for the federal government to get involved in ramping up testing for those who might be sick with the  virus, and to test for the presence of  antibodies in people who have had the virus and are recovered.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan Tuesday to resume some types of elective surgeries in some portions of upstate New York. But all of downstate, and several upstate counties, will be excluded.

"We're going to allow elective outpatient treatment, which means the number of beds remain available because the number of people using those beds is still relatively minimal," he said.

Cuomo spoke before a planned meeting Tuesday afternoon at the White House with President Donald Trump.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

The number of deaths from COVID-19 in New York continues to decline but remains at a high level, with 478 New Yorkers losing their lives to the disease on Sunday. More than 16,000 people are still in the hospital.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is still not close to reopening, though he said he might ease the ban on elective surgeries for some parts of the state.  

Governor Cuomo's office


Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is mandating in an executive order that private labs in New York state work together to develop testing for the coronavirus. He said he needs the federal government to coordinate and scale up testing to allow the economy to reopen sooner, but so far that is not occurring.

Cuomo also had some choice words for President Donald Trump, who live-tweeted criticism of Cuomo's daily briefing.

The New York Senate and Assembly were scheduled to return to the state Capitol on Monday to finish up the rest of the legislative session. But that schedule was made before the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers have no firm plans on when to return, and that has government reform groups, and some lawmakers, calling for a remote session to be held.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday extended the stay-at-home order for New York residents through May 15.

He also reminded everyone in the state that the requirement to wear a mask while out in public begins at 8 p.m. Friday.

Cuomo said the stay-in-place orders and businesses and school closures will remain in effect for another month. While the daily death toll of 606 on Wednesday is down from previous days, 2,000 more people were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, and 17,735 are still in the hospital with the disease.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he's issuing an executive order to require every New Yorker to wear masks in public when it’s not possible to practice social distancing, beginning Friday.

Cuomo also said the virus claimed 752 lives Tuesday, but the rate of hospitalizations may have already peaked.  

The governor said the order requires all New Yorkers to wear masks, scarves or bandannas that cover their nose and mouth when they're out in public and unable to practice social distancing.  

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that New York may be at the apex of coronavirus infections, with hospitalization rates remaining stable at over 18,000 COVID-19 patients a day for the past week. 

Since April 7, the number of New Yorkers in the hospital with the disease has held steady, and as of Monday, 18,697 people were in the hospital being treated for the virus. 

Monday's death toll of 778, however, is up from Sunday's, Cuomo said. The numbers in the past weeks have ranged from a low of 671 on Easter to 799 deaths on April 8.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

During his daily briefing on COVID-19's impact on New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried Tuesday to tamp down an escalating war of words with President Donald Trump.

He said Trump is "spoiling for a fight," but he does not plan to further engage.

On Monday, New York joined with six other Northeastern states to develop a coordinated plan to reopen the economy when it is safe to do so. Three West Coast states -- California, Washington and Oregon -- formed a similar pact.