Karen Dewitt | WAMC

Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

New rules regarding who can be held on bail in New York state took effect Thursday.

New York State Capitol

New York’s fiscal crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic has led to temporary funding reductions for some cities and postponed planned pay raises for state workers. It has also led to reductions to some smaller programs, including an organization that has helped New Yorkers with intellectual disabilities during the pandemic. The program is slated for significant cuts this month. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a briefing July 1, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the rate of the COVID-19 virus continues to be low in New York, with 11 deaths on June 30, but he says he worries that compliance with safety rules is slipping. Because of that, the governor says he’s postponing permission to allow indoor dining in New York City.  

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

Governor 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.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 25, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says 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 says 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.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Governor 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.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 25, 2020.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will impose mandatory quarantines for travelers from states with high rates of the coronavirus effective midnight tonight.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 14, 2020.

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

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. 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. 

NYS Senator Rob Ortt
Facebook: Senator Rob Ortt

The New York State Senate has a new minority leader. Western New York Senator Robert Ortt replaces John Flanagan, who is stepping down after 34 years in the legislature.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 25, 2020.

Governor Cuomo delivered his final daily briefing on the coronavirus Friday, where he 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 US.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office

Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to end over three months of continuous daily coronavirus briefings on Friday. The briefings became a cultural phenomenon and made the Democrat 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.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers COVID-19 update during April 6, 2020 press briefing
Courtesy of Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo says this Friday, June 19, known as Juneteenth in honor of the end of slavery in the U.S., will be a holiday for New York state workers. The Democrat says he’ll work to make it a statewide holiday for 2021.

The chairs of the state legislative health committees are proposing a bill that would help protect the privacy of New Yorkers who give personal information to coronavirus contact tracers.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says visitors will now be allowed for patients at hospitals and residents of group homes for the developmentally disabled. But nursing home visits remain off limits for now.

Cuomo signs police reform bills on June 12, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed several police reform measures into law Friday, and says he’ll withhold state funding from local police departments if they do not submit proof that they have worked with their communities to reconfigure their forces. Guests at the ceremony included the mothers of young African American men killed in a police encounter, and the Reverend Al Sharpton.

NYS Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Karen DeWitt

There’s a growing movement to defund the police after the death of George Floyd and other incidents of police brutality sparked nationwide protests. New York leaders say they would rather restructure the forces than cut their budgets.

The New York State legislature wrapped up passage of a package of bills on police reform on Wednesday, as the Senate Leader delivered a very personal speech on how systemic racism has affected her life.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

The New York Assembly and Senate have approved the repeal of a measure that’s been used to shield police disciplinary records from the public. But opponents, including police unions and some Republican senators, say it unfairly singles out officers for scrutiny that other public servants don’t face.

Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins speaks to Karen DeWitt in a socially distanced interview June 8, 2020
Gary Ginsberg / NYS Senate

The New York State Legislature met at the state Capitol Monday to unveil police reform legislation. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign the package. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking June 5, 2020.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the video of an elderly white man in Buffalo knocked down by police and left to bleed on the sidewalk made him “sick to his stomach." The Democrat is calling for the Erie County District Attorney to investigate criminal charges for the officers involved. 

School Bus at Shenedehowa
ThoseGuys119 | Flickr

Saturday is the deadline for voters to get their ballots in the mail for New York state’s school board and school budget elections. There will be no in-person voting in the June 9 elections due to safety precautions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 20, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says outdoor dining can begin in upstate regions of New York now in phase two of reopening, beginning June 4.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

There were fewer incidences of looting around New York state on Tuesday night, after three nights that left many stores damaged and empty of merchandise.  Governor Andrew Cuomo credited better efforts by the police and walked back some critical comments he made Tuesday about the NYPD.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s “outraged and disappointed” over the looting of several stores that took place last night in New York City, and he says the city’s mayor and the NYPD did not do their job.


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.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo took his plea for more federal relief to Washington Wednesday. Speaking at the National Press Club, the Democrat said New York and other states hardest hit by the coronavirus also pay billions more dollars in taxes to the federal government than they get back. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

New York state lawmakers returned to session this week, with plans to vote on bills aimed at helping New Yorkers cope with the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at his briefing May 5, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he believes New York state has finally “turned the page” on the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s time to focus on restarting the economy. The Democrat will meet with President Trump on Wednesday to discuss federal funds for state projects - including repairing commuter rail tunnels in New York City.