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 is urging the thousands of New Yorkers who are participating in social justice protests to get tested for the coronavirus to help prevent another potential outbreak. 

Cuomo said there are enough tests available now for everyone who participated in a protest to get tested. He said even though most demonstrators wore masks, it was a crowded environment, and they should just assume that they were exposed to the virus. 

“If you were at a protest, go get a test, please,” Cuomo said. “The protesters have a civic duty here, also. Be responsible. Get a test.”  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says outdoor dining can begin Thursday in upstate regions of the state that are now in phase two of reopening. 

Eateries in the Capital Region, central New York, the Rochester-Finger Lakes area, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier and western New York can reopen for outdoor dining, subject to safety rules.

The outdoor tables must be spaced 6 feet apart,  all staff must wear face coverings and customers also have to wear masks or face coverings when not seated.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

There were fewer incidences of looting of stores and other businesses around the state on Tuesday night, after three nights that left many stores damaged and empty of merchandise.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his daily briefing Wednesday, credited better efforts by the police, and walked back some critical comments he made Tuesday about the NYPD.

Cuomo also read from the Bible to make a point about President Donald Trump's controversial photo opportunity on Monday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s outraged and disappointed over the continued looting of several stores that took place overnight in New York City, and he said that city’s mayor and police department did not do their jobs.

But he stopped short of saying that he would deploy the state’s National Guard to any city without a request by its political leaders.  

Cuomo said the people who are breaking into the stores and stealing are different from the largely peaceful protesters, whom he supports. He said the two groups need to be treated differently. 

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the mass protests in New York City and in upstate cities over the past few nights have been "counterproductive" to the cause of racial justice and may even reignite the spread of the coronavirus.

Cuomo said he supports the curfew set Monday night for New York City, saying the looting, acts of violence and alleged misconduct by the police in some instances are "unacceptable."

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s asked the state’s attorney general to look into what he says are “disturbing” videos of police conduct during last night’s protests and unrest in New York’s cities including one of an NYPD police cruiser driving into a crowd of people. He says he’s also sending state police to assist upstate cities where demonstrations occurred, and has the state’s National Guard on standby.

“Last night was an ugly night all across this nation,” Cuomo said. “It was an ugly night across this state.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead to five upstate regions to enter phase two of the reopening process Friday and said New York City, the last part of the state still on lockdown, will begin phase one of reopening on June 8.

Many eligible voters for the June 23 primary in New York are receiving applications for absentee ballots in the mail, as the state tries to make it easier for people to avoid physically going to the polls during the COVID-19 pandemic. But voting rights advocates say more needs to be done.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order that allows businesses to deny entry to customers who aren’t wearing a mask. He said it’s intended to improve public health and reduce fights.

Cuomo said the  “no mask, no service” rule is about changing the culture so that people view the wearing of masks in public as essential to preserving everyone’s health during the pandemic.

Provided photos

Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought his plea for more federal relief from the coronavirus pandemic to Washington on Wednesday.

Speaking at the National Press Club, the Democratic governor said New York and other states hardest hit by the effects of the pandemi also pay billions more dollars in taxes to the federal government than they get back.

He called out leaders in red states, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who say “blue states” should not get any more money.