Karen Dewitt | WAMC

Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

Barriers around the New York State Capitol.
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

The New York State legislature is voting to end Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers granted to him during COVID-19, as the Democrat faces new developments on two controversies over sexual harassment allegations and his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Karen DeWitt

The New York State Senate and Assembly plan on Friday to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of sweeping emergency powers enacted under the COVID-19 pandemic. The action comes as the Democrat is embroiled in two scandals, over his nursing home policies during the coronavirus and allegations that he sexually harassed former staffers. But there are questions about how effective the new law will be.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses sexual harrassment allegations against him during a March 3, 2021 briefing.
WAMC screenshot

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the first time publicly addressed sexual harassment accusations against him Wednesday, saying he did not intend to make anyone uncomfortable and that he is truly sorry. Many are calling for his resignation, including some fellow Democrats, but the governor says he’s not leaving.

NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie speaks to reporters on Sheldon Silver's sentencing.
Karen Dewitt

New York legislative leaders have announced agreement on a bill to curb Governor Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure comes as the Democrat is embroiled in scandals over his nursing home policies during the pandemic and accusations of sexually harassing former staffers.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking as the USNS Comfort arrives in New York City March 30, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49717220477/in/album-72157713688946722/

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed coronavirus case in New York. Since then, more than 38,000 New Yorkers have died of the virus so far and more than 1.5 million were infected.

 NY Attorney General Tish James
Karen DeWitt

A second woman has come forward and accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. Cuomo denies the allegations, but has agreed to make a referral to state Attorney General Letitia James to conduct an investigation.  

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Democrats in the state legislature support new, higher taxes on New York’s richest residents as part of the new state budget. They say a newly released study that shows that the state’s 120 billionaires increased their wealth by $88 billion during the pandemic bolsters that claim. But Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to resist raising their taxes.

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his staff were in damage control mode Thursday as they faced two scandals; the governor’s handling of nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and allegations that the Democrat sexually harassed a former staffer. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at his briefing May 5, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49860390977/

For a time in 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo was considered one of the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic for his steady and focused daily briefings when many considered national leadership to be lacking. But recently, the Democrat has suffered a reversal of fortune, as a scandal over the suppression of the number of nursing home deaths dominates news coverage of his administration. Now a new poll finds the majority of New Yorkers think the governor did something wrong.

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

Residents of nursing homes in New York will be able to receive visitors again starting February 26, under new rules laid out by Governor Andrew Cuomo and state health officials. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a briefing July 1, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/50066215342/

The New York State Senate is poised to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of some emergency pandemic powers and create an oversight commission to review the decisions the governor makes. There’s growing support for the moves as the Democrat has said that he was wrong to withhold for months the true number of deaths from COVID-19 at the state’s nursing homes. There are also reports of two federal probes into the state’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday launched an attack on one of the critics of his nursing home policies – Assemblyman Ron Kim, who lost his uncle to COVID-19 in a nursing home. Cuomo says Kim’s disagreements over policies is really about an old feud over a bill to regulate nail salons.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/50012755108/

New York political leaders on both sides of the aisle are calling for actions, including a criminal investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his top aides, and an end to the Democrat’s emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcry follows a New York Post report that the governor’s chief of staff said during a private meeting that the administration deliberately withheld key data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

People wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the University at Albany
Jesse King / WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and officials from President Joe Biden’s administration say they will open mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in medically underserved areas, beginning in Queens and Brooklyn, and later upstate.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The New York State Senate has advanced several bills that would address problems in the state’s nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, as outlined in a recent Attorney General’s report which also found that Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration undercounted nursing home deaths.

A screenshot of the New York Attorney General's report on nursing homes
A screenshot of the New York Attorney General's report on nursing homes

For the first time, the New York State Health Department has released data showing that nearly 15,000 nursing home residents and others living at adult long-term care facilities died of COVID-19. The data was released following a court order demanding its disclosure.

Colleen Laico, from Kingston, NY, a medical professional at the ER at Kingston Hospital, receives her COVID-19 vaccination at MidHudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, December 18, 2020
Courtesy of the Office of Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan

Governor Andrew Cuomo says state-run COVID-19 vaccination sites will begin accepting appointments for immune-compromised New Yorkers, beginning February 14.

A COVID-19 vaccination site at the University at Albany
Jesse King / WAMC

Governor Andrew Cuomo is expanding the list of New Yorkers who will be eligible to receive vaccinations.  He says on February 15 people with co-morbidities, as defined by the CDC, will be able to sign up for appointments. The governor also says that African-Americans and Latinos are getting vaccinated at a lower rate than whites or Asians, and he wants to correct that.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Governor Andrew Cuomo continues his push to win several billion dollars in aid in the next federal COVID-19 relief package. The Democrat has sent a letter to New York’s Congressional delegation, saying the funding is “paramount” to the state’s recovery. Meanwhile, New York Education Commissioner Betty Rosa says she’s against a proposal by Cuomo to use money from a previous federal bailout to offset state funding. She says it wasn’t meant for that purpose.  

Ted Minissale, Cindi Lizzi and Phil Minissale, on a Zoom press conference, recount the final days of their mother, Agnes, who died in a hospital last April after contracting COVID-19 in a nursing home.
Karen DeWitt

Republican New York State Senators and some family members of nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 say they are still looking for answers from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration. The calls come a week after a scathing report from the state Attorney General found twice as many nursing home residents died of the disease than what the state had been reporting. They are urging majority party Democrats to subpoena the governor’s health commissioner for more information and calling for a thorough investigation of the over 12,700 deaths.  

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a briefing Feb. 1, 2021.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/50899279501/

The winter storm caused COVID-19 vaccination sites in New York to close downstate, but others upstate remained open Monday. Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a briefing, blamed the federal government for ongoing glitches in the state’s vaccine rollout.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking April 14, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/49773411033/

Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to blame what he says is an “ongoing political attack” for the controversy over the number of nursing home deaths in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, that led to a critical report by the state’s attorney general.

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

Governor Andrew Cuomo, saying the COVID-19 transmission rate in New York has started to decline, is lifting some restrictions in nearly all orange and yellow micro cluster zones that were aimed at controlling the spread of the virus. The Democrat is also developing a plan to allow limited indoor dining in New York City.

Doug Hovey, with Independent Living Inc., speaks of the need for WiFi service for state run homes for New Yorkers with disabilities. At left is State Senator James Skoufis, behind him and to the to the right is Alex Thompson of the New York Association on
Karen DeWitt

Several New York state Senators and Assembly members say they were surprised to learn that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration does not provide internet access to people living in state-run group homes and other congregant settings, and they want that fixed immediately. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a briefing July 1, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/50066215342/

Governor Andrew Cuomo in his budget plan proposed imposing new higher income taxes on New York’s wealthiest residents if President Joe Biden and Congress do not come through with enough federal aid to close the state’s budget deficit. But, at the same time, Cuomo offered a contradictory message, saying it might hurt the state’s competiveness and cause the rich to flee the state. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking in Albany Dec. 2, 2020.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/50672926607/

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a close ally of President Joe Biden, says it’s a “new day” with the inauguration of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, but says he remains concerned about the slow manufacture of vaccines that could finally end the COVID-19 pandemic.

overnor Andrew M. Cuomo presents his Fiscal Year 2022 Executive Budget in Albany.
Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his budget address Tuesday, said New York state’s fiscal future is dependent on how much aid it receives from Washington under the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden and the Democratic-led Congress. Cuomo, also a Democrat, is seeking $15 billion to plug two years of state budget gaps, and he’s threatening to sue if he doesn’t get it. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

Governor Andrew Cuomo is due to release his state budget plan this week, as New York State confronts the largest budget deficit the governor has faced in his decade in office, much of it due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning of a dangerous second wave of the COVID-19 virus, as new, more contagious strains have begun to infiltrate the U.S. And as New York State struggles with its vaccination rollout, Cuomo says he’s asking one of the major vaccine manufacturers if the state can buy doses directly.

NYS Police Troop G commander, Major Christoper West, outlines security steps that are being taken in the days leading up to the Presidential inauguration
Karen DeWitt

The New York State Capitol is bracing for potential violence and armed protesters in the coming days, after FBI warnings about significant threats in online chatter from white supremacy and other far-right groups. New York State Police say there are no specific credible threats against the building in downtown Albany, but are nevertheless stepping up patrols and taking precautions to harden security.

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