Karen Dewitt | WAMC

Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

A picture of a steel gantry over the New York State Thruway
Karen DeWitt

A state senator is objecting to a proposal by the New York State Thruway Authority to raise tolls for drivers who don’t have an E-ZPass.

The White House as seen in 2014
Ian Pickus

A new poll finds the presidential election is not quite settled yet for some New Yorkers, with one in five saying, three weeks after Election Day, that it’s too early to tell who actually won.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 15, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49777500213/

Governor Andrew Cuomo intensified restrictions in several parts of New York Monday due to the climbing rate of the coronavirus. The Democrat delivered a stern warning to New Yorkers who might be tempted to break the rules during the holiday season, saying careless behavior will lead to more deaths.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49701753947/

As the Thanksgiving holiday week begins, New York state officials are recommending that dinners and other gatherings be limited or even cancelled to prevent a further rise in COVID-19 transmission.

A picture of a $20 bill, a $10 bill and a $1 bill
Jim Levulis / WAMC

This week as the coronavirus infection rate climbed higher in New York state, new micro cluster zones were announced and some existing ones were intensified. A business group is asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to stick to that approach of limited closures, saying they won’t survive a complete economic shutdown.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking Nov. 18, 2020
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/50618460822/

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared more regions as micro-cluster hot zones, as the rate of COVID-19 continues to climb in New York. The new designations come as New York City’s mayor closed the city’s schools, effective Thursday, as the positive test rate there reached 3%.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Now Election Day has passed, leaders of the New York State Legislature are facing pressure from a wide range of groups to reconvene and deal with pandemic-related economic problems. Legislative leaders say they are not ruling it out.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a speech at a Black church in Manhattan, vowed to sue the administration of President Donald Trump for violating the constitutional rights of African-American and Hispanic New Yorkers, if it does not make changes to its COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Poll workers wearing masks count ballots
Pat Bradley / WAMC

In New York, absentee ballot counting is just getting underway in many counties, more than a week after Election Day. Because so many more people voted by mail, 8 close State Senate seats are undecided until the ballots are processed. It’s possible the new legislative session could begin in January before some of the races are decided.

The gantry between exits 23 and 24.
Karen DeWitt

Overnight on Friday, the New York State Thruway will make the switch to all cashless tolling. By Saturday morning, cameras mounted on steel gantries above the roadway will extract the tolls from E-ZPass accounts, or send bills to motorists without one.

Indoor dining at El Loco, where tables are socially distanced.
Karen DeWitt

Governor Andrew Cuomo is imposing new restrictions on bars and restaurants, and limiting the number of people at a home gathering to 10 or fewer, effective Friday. The governor says it’s due to climbing rates of COVID-19 in New York, as the nation breaks another record for the number of cases.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 15, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49777500213/

While the outcome of the presidential election has been the focus this week, the coronavirus pandemic has not taken a break. It’s on the rise in New York, and Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s considering placing new restrictions on portions of Western and Central New York, and the Rochester region, and has declared a town along the Connecticut border as a hotspot. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he’d wait until after the general election before deciding how to close the state’s multibillion dollar budget gap, hoping that Democratic wins for president and U.S. Senate might lead to a larger federal relief package for blue states. Now that Election Day has come and gone, and with the most likely scenario a President Joe Biden but a Republican-led U.S. Senate, the governor and the legislature will have to soon make some big decisions.

New York State Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy
Karen DeWitt

Election Day brought mixed results for Democrats and Republicans in New York’s congressional and legislative races. Republicans were quick to claim victory, but Democrats, who will remain in the majority no matter the outcomes of contested races, say the record number of absentee ballots need to be counted first and it might take weeks.

Voting booths
Pat Bradley / WAMC

Many New York State Senate races have not been called, and might not be for weeks, until the record number of absentee ballots cast this year are counted.

Voters line up in the snow outside the Bought Community Fire District building in Cohoes in Albany County on Oct. 30, 2020.
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Voters in New York who have not cast their ballots early, in-person or by mail, go to the polls Tuesday. While Democrat Joe Biden is heavily favored to win the state over President Donald Trump, there is plenty of action in congressional and state races for voters to weigh in on. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

All of the 212 seats in the New York State legislature are up for election this year. There are more than a dozen contested seats in the state Senate, where Democrats are favored to win many of the contests and potentially gain a supermajority. But Republicans say they hope to gain some seats, too. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Most of the attention this election season has been focused on the presidential campaign, but there are also a significant number of New York state Senate races in play. Democrats need just two more seats to gain a supermajority that could potentially override any vetoes of legislation issued by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Former inmate Thomas Kearney is among protesters asking for early release of some prisoners in state facilities, in the wake of rising cases of COVID-19.
Karen DeWitt

Protests were held in four locations in New York Tuesday over the growing number of state prison inmates infected with COVID-19. There have been outbreaks in at least four prisons in the Greene, Clinton and Cayuga Correctional Facilities, as well as in Elmira, where over 450 inmates have now tested positive for the virus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 15, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49777500213/

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to take issue with comments by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said over the weekend that the federal government does not plan to get control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elizabeth Warren
WAMC

Minor parties in New York state face strict new rules this year to keep their candidates on the ballot without having to resort to petitioning for thousands of signatures. One party, the progressive Working Families Party, is making an all-out effort to boost votes on their party line.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 15, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49777500213/

With 43 states and territories now qualifying New York State’s banned list, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s talking to health experts about a possible testing regimen that could end the mandatory quarantine period.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 20, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49797800133/

Governor Andrew Cuomo says his COVID-19 vaccination plan for New York, released over the weekend, is preliminary, and that much more information is needed to finalize the distribution of the vaccine throughout the state.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy
Dave Lucas / WAMC

County leaders in New York say they are frustrated over delays by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature to make major decisions about the state’s multi-billion dollar budget gap. And they are asking for more cooperation in carrying out key functions during the COVID-19 pandemic -- like testing and tracing.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 15, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49777500213/

The coronavirus infection rate has been creeping up in New York, but Governor Andrew Cuomo is arguing that the 20 COVID-19 hotspots should not count against the state’s overall numbers.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49701753947/

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has written a letter on behalf of all the states’ governors asking President Donald Trump to form a clear plan on how to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.

At a protest outside the state Capitol, Mary Beth Delarm displays pictures of her mother, who died in a nursing home in May during the COVID-19 pandemic
Karen DeWitt

In New York, a small band of protesters gathered outside the state Capitol Wednesday to demand that Governor Andrew Cuomo loosen restrictions for visiting residents at nursing homes. But so far the Democrat shows no sign of changing the rules.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49644651991/

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is threatening to withhold state funding from schools in COVID-19 hotspots that are remaining open despite the governor’s closure orders. Cuomo says he will also hold back state funds from local governments who fail to adequately police the areas identified by health officials as COVID clusters.

A white sign outside that says early voting with blue stars around it.
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

Many voters are casting their ballots by mail this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In New York state, every eligible voter can vote by absentee ballot if they are worried about the virus, but the rules are still a bit complicated. Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt sat down with the League of Women Voters' Jennifer Wilson to sort it all out.

El Loco owner Patrick Noonan, along with Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, at the restaurant's outdoor dining space on Madison Avenue in Albany
Karen DeWitt

October brings colder weather in the Northeast, and restaurants that have survived by offering outdoor dining during the summer of COVID-19 are bracing for a long winter.

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