Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Chief, New York State Public Radio

Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio.

Karen DeWitt reports for a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990. 

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York NOW. She appears on the reporter's roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women's Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.



Tue April 15, 2014
Oil Trains

Groups call growing oil shipments in NY Cuomo's "Keystone" moment

Oil train protestors in Albany, Tuesday
Credit Karen DeWitt/WXXI

National environmental groups are trying to focus the spotlight on Governor Andrew Cuomo, over the issue of the growing international oil distribution center, located just blocks from the State Capitol, at the Port of Albany.   

A small band of demonstrators chanted and held signs to protest a confluence of events that has turned upstate New York into a major center for oil distribution.

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Mon April 14, 2014
SAFE Act Registration

State Rifle and Pistol says 'a ton of confusion' surrounds SAFE Act

Credit Matt Ryan/WMHT

April 15th, besides being tax day, is the first day that owners of semi automatic weapons will be required to register their guns with the state police. 

The head of the state’s Rifle and Pistol Association, a gun owners and pro second amendment rights group, says his members don’t like the new requirement that they register any assault weapons  they own under the state’s gun control laws.  

Tom King says while he’s not advising gun owners about whether or not they should register, he says those that want to comply are finding the new rules hard to navigate.

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Wed April 9, 2014

New casinos will drive problem gambling, Commission hears


The state gaming commission is holding hearings on the issue of gambling addiction. It’s part of a process that will allow the building of up to seven new casino gambling resorts in New York State over the next several years.

Among those testifying, James Maney, the executive director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling.

Maney, who’s organization is neither for or against gambling, says there’s no doubt that the new casinos will increase the number of problem gamblers in New York.   

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Wed April 9, 2014

Medical marijuana next big issue for state legislature after lengthy spring break

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 8:06 am

Now that the state budget is done, the focus at the Capitol is shifting to other priorities, including whether to allow medical marijuana. Advocates came to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers, but the bill is getting bogged down over political skirmishes.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caused a bit of a stir when he seemed to say that a bill to legalize medical marijuana might be dead for the year, saying he does not think it has a future in the 2014 session.

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Tue April 1, 2014

Cuomo, leaders admit some unfinished budget issues

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are touting the virtues of the newly enacted state budget, but the spending plan has its share of critics.

Governor Cuomo says one of the most important accomplishments achieved by him and the legislative leaders, is that the budget was passed on time, for the fourth year in a row. And he used a baseball metaphor, complete with baseballs and bats for props, to describe the feat.

“This is the grand slam budget,” said Cuomo. “I’m pleased and proud.”

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