Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

The first lawsuit has been filed against New York’s new law to permit undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses, as Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the new law.  

A voting machine
WAMC

A bill to allow automatic voter registration in New York failed in the final days of the legislative session, after a mistake in the language would have allowed undocumented immigrants to vote.  Sponsors say it was an honest mistake, but it caused concern among Republicans in the legislature, and earned Democrats a chiding from Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

drivers license
dmv.ny.gov

New York’s county clerks are meeting in Syracuse Monday to discuss a new law that requires county departments of motor vehicles to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Meanwhile, some county clerks who are opposed to the law are pressing forward on a federal lawsuit. 

Nick Langworthy, left
Matt Ryan / New York Now

New York’s Republican Party met in a hotel outside Albany Monday to choose its new chair. The Buffalo area’s Nick Langworthy replaces Ed Cox, the son-in-law of President Richard Nixon. The 38-year-old GOP chair promises to bring new energy to the fight against the state’s dominant Democratic Party.

kat_geb - Flickr: 40 / WIkipedia

A bill currently before New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would regulate the sale of CBD products in New York state, and set up new rules for the state’s growing hemp industry. Cuomo has not yet decided whether he’s going to sign it, potentially leaving what is now a legal gray area in limbo.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is on his way to Israel to carry out what he says is an economic mission. But Cuomo says the trip has a personal focus as well.  

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

Advocates of legalizing adult recreational marijuana say they plan to spend the next six months convincing state lawmakers that allowing the drug to be sold and used in New York, after a measure failed in the final days of the session. 

Cuomo, holding a nearly full glass of water Friday to illustrate what the session accomplished, most of the Democrat's goals.
Karen DeWitt

The 2019 New York legislative session was among the most productive in several years, with the passage of bills that ranged from strengthening abortion rights, to allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. If you’re a liberal Democrat, there’s a lot to like. But conservative Republicans are not as pleased. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

The New York state Senate and Assembly approved anti-sexual harassment measures that, among other things, ends the standard that harassment needs to be “severe or pervasive” in order for a victim’s complaint to receive redress.  

Walmart/Flickr

The New York state Legislature is approving new protections for farmworkers that supporters say are long overdue.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

Following the Assembly, the New York state Senate voted 33-29 to allow undocumented immigrants to receive standard driver’s licenses. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo raised some last-minute objections, saying he fears that some data that the state Department of Motor Vehicles collects on the immigrants might be accessed by the federal government and immigration officials — but he has since signed the bill. 

Karen Dewitt

New York State lawmakers have ended a religious exemption for vaccinations. The Assembly narrowly approved a bill by 77 to 53  in light of a measles outbreak. It’s already been passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York state and local leaders joined recreation enthusiasts at the capitol Thursday to recognize the area’s biking, hiking and walking trails and call for more options.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Following a spirited debate, the New York state Assembly approved a bill to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. It’s not a done deal though, and it faces resistance in the state Senate.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will sign the rent law reforms agreed to by the Democratic-led state legislature.

Karen Dewitt

The New York state Senate passed a bill to legalize paid gestational surrogacy for couples who are unable to have their own children. But it faces an uncertain future in the Assembly, and opponents range from feminist icon Gloria Steinem to the Catholic Church.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York State lawmakers have the day off before they return to the Capitol to tackle a number of end-of-session issues, including renewing rent control laws and possibly legalizing marijuana for adults. A poll finds support among New Yorkers for many of the issues on the table.

 

Senator Todd Kaminsky, at podium, urging action on climate change on June 4. To the right is Julie Tighe, with the NY League of Conservation Voters
Karen DeWitt

New York state Senators and Assemblymembers are pushing for action to combat climate change before the legislative session ends later this month. But Governor Andrew Cuomo says the plan is too ambitious and unrealistic.

Karen DeWitt

Hundreds of pro-tenants’ rights protesters at the New York State Capitol Tuesday blocked the entrances to the Senate and Assembly chambers, and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, as they demanded that the 2019 session not end until rent laws are reformed. The groups achieved some results as Senate Democrats announced they have agreed to the measures pushed by the tenant groups.  

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

With 11 working days left in the legislative session, the atmosphere is intensifying at the New York State Capitol. Democrats who lead the legislature are facing pressure from all sides to deliver on legislation that they campaigned on. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

State legislative leaders have announced an agreement in principle on nine bills that they say will extend and strengthen New York City’s rent laws. It’s part of an effort to get a number of bills passed before adjournment later in June.

The New York state Capitol
Dave Lucas / WAMC

The New York state Senate held a hearing Thursday on how the state can join 15 other states and implement automatic voter registration. Advocates say it could result in two million more registered voters in a state that has one of the worst records for voter registration and participation.

Briccetti
Karen Dewitt

A leading business group has come out in favor of granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, increasing the chances of the bill’s passage in the New York state Legislature this year.

The New York State legislature held a daylong hearing Tuesday on a proposal to enact single-payer health care in New York.
Karen DeWitt

The New York State legislature held a daylong hearing Tuesday on a proposal to enact single-payer health care in New York. Supporters and opponents debated whether it’s the answer to the state’s health care gaps. 

A voting machine
WAMC

New York state’s Democratic Party leaders moved to greatly shorten the lead time before voters can register to cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential primaries.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

A national report finds that New York State’s ethics panel is among the worst in the nation. Reform groups say that’s not news to them, and have called for an overhaul of the commission.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

The second hearing on sexual harassment in New York state government will be held Friday in New York City. Ahead of the hearing, a group of former legislative staffers who say they have been victims of harassment joined lawmakers to introduce bills to strengthen New York’s laws.

Ed Cox, left, and Nick Langworthy speak with the media in Albany Tuesday
Karen DeWitt

There is going to be a change at the top of New York’s Republican Party. Erie County GOP Chair Nick Langworthy has gathered the support of the majority of county chairs, and will be replacing Ed Cox in July. The two met with the media Tuesday to talk about the transition.

Scott Barroco, holding pictures of his girlfriend Cathy Quinn, who died in 2014
Karen DeWitt

Advocates for a bill that would allow terminally ill New Yorkers to end their own lives say the legislation has its best chance yet for passage in the Democratic-controlled state legislature. 

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The State Senate acted Wednesday on measures that lawmakers say will improve safety on New York’s roads, including adding cameras to the stop arms of school buses.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

After the failure to include legalized recreational marijuana in the New York State budget earlier this year, sponsors of the legislation say they are introducing a new bill that they hope stands a better chance at becoming law.

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