Karen Dewitt | WAMC

Karen Dewitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent

Ways to Connect

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

A lack of information on how Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to cut $2.5 billion out of New York state-funded health care programs led to some tense moments at a legislative budget hearing Wednesday.

Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, speaking at the Capital rally Tuesday.
Karen DeWitt

Backers of legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana in New York rallied at the Capitol on Tuesday, but some key differences among lawmakers might hold up passage.

NYS Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay
Karen DeWitt

The often lengthy New York state budget hearings began Monday at the Capitol, as lawmakers heard testimony on Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s spending plan and how to close a $6 billion gap. The process however was assailed by both the left and the right.

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

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will include an additional $10 million in his state budget proposal for the 2020 national census to make sure that as many New Yorkers as possible are counted.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Democrats who lead the New York state Senate approved several measures on Thursday to make it easier to vote. But a newly energized Republican minority wanted to talk about other topics, such as worries about undocumented immigrants voting and whether to repeal recently enacted bail reforms.

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

There was a somber tone to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State message Wednesday, in a year where the state is facing a $6 billion deficit, and reeling from a recent spate of hate crimes, including a stabbing attack at a rabbi’s house in Rockland County.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to deliver his State of the State message on Wednesday, at a time when New York faces its worst budget deficit in a decade. The Democrat has already given a number of hints of what might be in his agenda.

NY Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay
Karen DeWitt

The minority party Republicans in the New York state Assembly have a new leader. Will Barclay, from the Syracuse area, replaces Brian Kolb, who resigned after being charged with drunk driving on New Year’s Eve. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Among some top New York Democrats, there are some cracks in the support for criminal justice reforms in 2020 that have eliminated most forms of cash bail. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the state’s attorney general are among those now saying they are open to making some changes. 

An Amtrak train arrives at the station in Hartford, CT.
WAMC

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to try again to install high0speed rail across New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is using the final days of the year to catch up some of the remaining 935 bills passed by the legislature earlier this year. The Democrat has left some of the more controversial vetoes for the end.

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas / WAMC

New York State begins the new year with the biggest budget deficit since the great recession, estimated at $5 to $6 billion. 

Under the measure, styrofoam cups, plates and containers would be banned citywide.
wikipedia commons

Governor Andrew Cuomo is releasing some of his proposals for the New Year early, and one of them is a plan to ban polystyrene, a plastic foam which is commonly known as Styrofoam, in takeout containers from restaurants and fast food outlets. It follows the passage of a new law to ban single-use plastic bags in New York, which takes effect in March.

A plastic bag
Josh Landes / WAMC

Beginning in March, New York will ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retail outlets, which supporters believe will cut down on residents’ use of an estimated 23 billion plastic bags each year. State regulators released new rules to enforce the changes, and groups on both sides of the issue say those rules are flawed.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Rochester-area Senator Joseph Robach’s announcement Wednesday that will he not seek re-election in 2020 makes him the fourth Republican Senator to do so in recent weeks. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

New York law enforcement groups have pushed back against criminal justice changes that take effect in January, including the end to most forms of cash bail. But the advocates who fought for the changes say they are long overdue and will restore fairness to the system. 

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Earlier this week, New York’s public campaign finance commission issued a plan to allow candidates for state offices to receive public matching grants for some campaign donations under $250. But advocates worry that the final report left out a key legal clause and that could jettison the entire program, if any one part of it is successfully challenged in court.

New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

New York state’s public campaign finance commission has voted on a package of bills that would enact a public matching donor program, and put strict new limits on the abilities of minor parties to qualify to be on the ballot. Monday’s meeting was at times interrupted by protesters, who compared the commission’s actions to those of President Donald Trump, while some government reform groups say they can’t support the final product.

NYS Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Karen DeWitt

A commission designing a public campaign finance system for New York’s political races is poised to limit fusion voting, or the ability for candidates to run on multiple party lines. Now the leader of the State Senate, is saying that it would be better if the commission leaves it alone. 

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
https://twitter.com/newyorkstateag

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.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

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.

FILE: Orange County DA David Hoovler
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.

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