Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

Vice President Joe Biden at the University of Vermont
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A new poll finds Democrat Joe Biden is in the lead in New York among challengers to President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, support for the President among independents is up slightly, while Governor Andrew Cuomo’s popularity has slipped.

NY AG Sues Juul Labs

Nov 19, 2019
New York Attorney General Tish James

New York’s attorney general is suing Juul, the nation’s largest manufacturer of electronic cigarettes, saying the “deceptive and misleading marketing of its e-cigarettes” has contributed to the youth vaping epidemic in New York. 

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy speaking at the NYCOM meeting in Albany
Karen DeWitt

Mayors across New York are the latest to express concerns about the bail reform and other criminal justice changes that take effect in January. The mayors say they don’t have the resources or the money to properly carry out the new laws.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Reform groups say they are dismayed with the direction of a commission appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to implement a public campaign finance system for state elected offices. The commission has just two more meetings before it issue its final report.

Some members of a commission that’s creating the rules for a public campaign finance system for elected offices in New York state are concerned the plans being developed are too favorable to incumbent politicians.

Orange County DA David Hoovler, head of NY’s DA's Association, at a news conference at the State Capitol on November 7
Karen DeWitt

A new law that takes effect in New York in January will give people accused of crimes more tools to mount a defense in court. But the state’s district attorneys say changes to what’s known as the discovery laws will be costly and hard to implement.  

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released long awaited regulations on CBD this week that provides more federal regulation of the growing of hemp plants, where CBD comes from. Meanwhile, in New York, a bill that would regulate the hemp extract, is in limbo. The state legislature has approved it, but Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t acted on it yet. 

Pat Bradley/WAMC

The chair of New York State’s Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, has found himself on the defensive after a leaked email revealed a proposal that could weaken minor parties backed by progressive Democrats, and strengthen the state’s Conservative Party.

Karen Dewitt

Two majority-party lawmakers have introduced a bill in New York that would give customers in cafés, fast food shops and even some restaurants the option to use their own container for coffee, water, or to bring home left overs.

Pat Bradley / WAMC

It seems increasingly likely that a special election for the Western New York Congressional seat vacated by the disgraced Chris Collins will be held the same day as New York’s presidential primary in April, and that has Republicans in the state crying foul.

Senator Neil Breslin, D- Albany, during press conference on proposed changes to early voting laws at Unity House in Troy, October 22
Karen DeWitt

New York’s new early voting system doesn’t begin until Saturday, but some lawmakers and voting rights advocates already want changes to the law.

Karen Dewitt

New York state’s Republican Party chair is angered over the news that a commission to create a public campaign finance system for the state plans to issue its report on Thanksgiving Eve — traditionally a time when politicians release items that they want to downplay.

Picture of a marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania met in  New York City Thursday to try to hash out a multi-state approach to legalizing the adult recreational use of marijuana.

Ana Paula Tavares, the executive director of Audubon New York and Audubon Connecticut
Karen DeWitt

The Audubon Society is out with a study that shows two-thirds of bird species in North America are at risk of extinction if the region warms as 3 degrees Centigrade or around 5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

A New York commission tasked with developing a plan to publicly finance state election campaigns will hold a special meeting on Columbus Day. Meanwhile, the state legislature is considering whether to return to the Capitol in December for a special session to potentially reverse some of the commission’s anticipated decisions.   

New York has reported the first death related to an epidemic of vaping related illnesses, with the state health department saying the victim is a 17-year-old male from the Bronx.

 Members of a census funding coalition New York Counts 2020 at Tuesday's meeting in Albany. From left to right, Tara Feeney, Amy Torres and Meeta Anand.
Karen DeWitt

A state commission to oversee the 2020 census count for New York adopted its action plan Tuesday. But immigrant rights groups worry that it’s too little, too late. 

The New York State Health Department has decided to put off a ban on menthol-flavored nicotine vaping products until a court case challenging an earlier ban on other flavored e-cigarettes is resolved.

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul
Jim Levulis / WAMC

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says she is staying in her current job, even though some have called for her to run for the Western New York Congressional seat that’s vacant, due to the resignation of Chris Collins.

The White House, Washington D.C.

As political tensions heighten over the inquiry into impeaching President Trump, a new poll finds that New Yorkers believe people in the state are more partisan than ever.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2019 State of the State and budget address Tuesday in Albany.
Flickr: GovernorAndrewCuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled to Hartford Connecticut on Wednesday to meet with that state’s Governor, Ned Lamont, and to announce a joint effort to limit vaping and work toward legalizing the adult recreational use of marijuana.


This fall, New Yorkers will have their first ever opportunity to vote early in November’s elections. Polls will be open a full 10 days before the November 5 Election Day — but the logistics will vary depending on where you live.

Karen DeWitt

Owners of clean energy power plants in New York say they’d like the same support from the state for their businesses that new ones get. Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt visited a historic 120-year-old hydroelectric dam, to find out what the energy producers say is needed.

Karen DeWitt

Tempers flared Wednesday at a public hearing of a commission formed to enact a public campaign financing system for New York. But the tensions centered not on that proposal, but on the commission’s decision to also consider whether to end fusion voting, which allows candidates to run on multiple ballot lines.

Karen DeWitt

New York’s Health Department Public Health Council voted Tuesday to ban flavored e-cigarettes in the state beginning October 4. The panel did so over the protests of vape shop owners, who say they are helping people quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, and that they will lose their businesses when the ban takes effect. 

A spokesman for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says a plan to charge up to $45 for a requirement that license plates more than 10 years old be replaced is no longer going forward. The news comes after a Siena College poll finds New Yorkers strongly oppose having to pay for new license plates.

Karen DeWitt

The vaping industry is reacting to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s upcoming ban on flavored e-cigarettes – saying it is misguided and will force many small business owners to close their shops and lay off employees. Some are predicting legal action.

WAMC file photo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order to direct the state health department to ban all flavored electronic cigarettes, in response to a vaping heath emergency that has sickened hundreds and killed six people.

Flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products on the shelves of a Stewart's store in Latham.
Dave Lucas / WAMC

There’s new scrutiny over vaping products of all kinds, as the number of New Yorkers sickened with a disease that is so far related to some black market marijuana vaping products has now risen to 60. Hundreds of people across the U.S. have been sickened and five have died.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

The first hearing of a state commission to implement a public campaign finance system for New York’s elections was overshadowed by the issue of whether to end fusion voting, which allows candidates to run on multiple ballot lines. Critics of the proposal say Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to strike against a left-leaning party that he’s been feuding with, something the governor denies.