Karen Dewitt | WAMC

Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

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 it was another day of mixed news about the coronavirus. A new daily high for deaths was reached, while the overall rate of new infections and hospitalizations is flattening.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

New York state lawmakers finished up the state budget Friday morning, three days after the deadline. One area of contention was making changes to the state’s bail reform laws. In the end, lawmakers compromised.

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

New York missed the deadline to complete its state budget on time Tuesday night. The Senate and Assembly acted on two bills — debt service and a revenue measure — but they don’t yet have agreements on how much to spend on school aid and health care, as New York faces a $15 billion deficit amid the coronavirus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 26, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49701753947/

Governor Andrew Cuomo says many New Yorkers trying to get through to the state’s websites and phone lines to apply for unemployment aid are facing long waits and crashing systems amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The New York state budget is due Wednesday. Lawmakers, facing a massive deficit, are meeting at the State Capitol, which is off limits to the public, as yet another legislator tests positive for the coronavirus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with the USNS Comfort in the New York Harbor in the background.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49717354137/

Two hundred thirty five New Yorkers died of the coronavirus in the past day, for a total of more than 1,200 so far, a number Governor Andrew Cuomo calls “beyond staggering.” Cuomo, in his daily update on the virus Monday, said hospitals and their workers are already overwhelmed, two weeks before the virus is expected to peak. He asked health care workers from around the nation to consider coming to New York to help. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 29, 2020
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49713626792/

Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses and the ban on gatherings in New York for another two weeks, through April 15. That time period includes the Passover and Easter holidays. Cuomo also says he’s convinced the governor of Rhode Island to call off a policy of using that state’s police force to question New Yorkers who enter Rhode Island and forcing them to quarantine.

Several New York State lawmakers and a co-chair of the state Board of Elections are pressing for New York to expand its absentee voting laws to allow for more mail-in balloting, and to postpone the April 28 presidential primary until late June.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 26, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49701753947/

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, facing a state budget deadline in less than a week, is out with a new proposal to try to cope as the state faces a multibillion dollar budget gap, and much uncertainty with much of the economy shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York lawmakers have just one week until the state budget is due. They say despite the coronavirus outbreak, they intend to meet the deadline, and will use precautions to avoid meeting in large groups. They face a daunting task of putting together a spending plan while a multi-billion dollar deficit grows each day.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking March 25, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49697923781/

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s been working closely with President Trump’s son-in-law and top White House aide Jared Kushner to get New York ventilators as coronavirus cases continue to escalate.

Photo of prison guard tower
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Harvey Weinstein, who was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to a story first published in the Niagara Gazette. The former movie producer is in a Western New York correctional facility. The news comes as advocates for prisoner rights are asking the state for a plan to protect inmates from getting the virus.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo and his aides are still scrambling to create new hospital beds and procure adequate medical equipment. But the governor says he’s also assigning a team to try to figure out how and when to restart the economy in the coming weeks.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his 2020 State of the State address.
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo is among those calling on the federal government to invoke the Defense Production Act so the Trump Administration can order factories to produce badly needed hospital gear to combat the corona virus. Cuomo also says he’s looking at ways to allow mail in balloting for the April 28th presidential primary.

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’ll spend Saturday visiting potential sites to set up temporary hospitals and negotiating with clothing manufactures and ventilator sellers to gather medical supplies in time for the expected increase in patients sick with the coronavirus who may need hospitalization. Cuomo also says he plans to visit parks in New York City to determine if reports of younger people congregating too closely together are true.

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

New York has now followed California and is ordering that as of 8 p.m. Sunday, all state residents stop going to work and stay in their homes unless they are working at jobs considered essential or they need groceries, medicine or gasoline.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

A panel tasked with reducing New York’s Medicaid budget has voted on a plan to cut $2.5 billion out of the state’s health care system. But the commission’s work likely falls far short of closing a widening budget deficit that will likely be expanded by the coronavirus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking more steps to reduce human density in the workplace in light of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. He now says just 25% of employees can come into the office, 75% of workers must stay home.

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

Update: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the paid sick leave measure Wednesday night.

New York state lawmakers voted in nearly empty chambers Wednesday on bills, including one to give quarantined New Yorkers paid sick leave, as they adopted new meeting rules to limit spreading the corona virus.  Meanwhile, the chief sponsor of the bill to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana says it likely will not be in the budget plan for now. 

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Starting Friday, there will be new restrictions on working in New York, as Governor Andrew Cuomo issues mandatory density reductions to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Cuomo and the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania have also moved to close the indoor portions of retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in all the four states by 8 p.m. Thursday.  Meanwhile, New York is getting help from the federal government to increase hospital beds. 

Comptroller DiNapoli.
Pat Bradley / WAMC

The New York State Comptroller says the state’s revenues are plunging, along with the stock market, and that spells a difficult time ahead for the New York budget.

NY Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris
Karen DeWitt

The New York state legislature has postponed its session until at least Wednesday, in order to figure out how to conduct its business safely under new regulation released by the CDC regarding human density in light of the spreading coronavirus. 

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have made the joint decision to close all bars and restaurants in the three states to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.  Governor Andrew Cuomo says all schools in New York State will be closed by Wednesday, and the New York state legislature has postponed its session.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New Rochelle March 13, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49655499716/

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday opened a drive-through coronavirus testing center in New Rochelle, which is at the epicenter of the disease in New York, and announced that the state now has more people with the disease than any other state.

Cuomo, during a briefing at the Capitol March 9, holds New York state-made hand sanitzer to be distributed free to schools and hospitals
Office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The vast state and city university systems in New York are switching to long distance learning March 19 and most students will be going home due to worries about the coronavirus. Governor Andrew Cuomo also says the state is contracting with 28 private labs to speed up what’s been a slow process of testing potential virus victims.

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

Governor Andrew Cuomo and state health officials are imposing unprecedented restrictions in New Rochelle in Westchester County, in an attempt to contain what is currently New York’s epicenter of the coronavirus.

Office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The head of New York state’s Port Authority has tested positive for coronavirus, and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s health officials are releasing a plan for possible school closures if a child is found to have the illness. Meanwhile, the state is manufacturing its own hand sanitizer, to deal with the shortage of the disinfectant product.

NYS Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Karen DeWitt

The leader of the New York State Senate says it’s likely that changes will soon be made to the state’s new bail reform laws, which ended most forms of cash bail for nonviolent offenses. Meanwhile the state’s chief judge is also calling for amendments to the laws. 

Marketing Manager Alex Mytelka at Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany
Karen DeWitt

New York’s ban on single use plastic bags at grocery stores and other outlets takes effect March 1, and stores that haven’t already made the change are gearing up for it. One food store has never offered single-use plastic bags in its 40-year history, and they say no one has been bothered by that.

New York state Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan speaks Feb. 25, 2020.
Karen DeWitt

Senate Republicans on Tuesday offered an amendment to repeal New York’s Green Light Law, which permits undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. It has caused friction with the federal government because the law also blocks access to New York’s DMV database. Senate Republicans said Tuesday afternoon the amendment was rejected along party lines. 

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