Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Chief at New York State Public Radio

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

A regular contributor to 'New York NOW,' she frequently appears on the Reporters' Roundtable segment and often interviews newsmakers.

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, 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.

Karen at a Mike Bloomberg press conference in Albany.

Karen interviewing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher

Ways to Connect

Matt Ryan / WMHT

Business leaders, particularly those in Upstate New York, say the 2016 legislative session, which recently concluded, was the worst for small businesses in quite some time.
Business owners say that a session that saw the minimum wage increase, to eventually $15 in New York City and $12.50 upstate, along with a phased in partial paid family leave, will be costly to smaller employers who operate on the edge in a shaky economy.

Karen DeWitt

The New York State Farm Bureau is inserting itself  into a legal fight over whether farm workers can be allowed to unionize.

The New York Civil Liberties union is suing the state for the right of farm laborers to collectively bargain with their employers, and Governor Cuomo said earlier this year that he would not defend the state in the lawsuit. The New York Farm Bureau says it wants to defend the ban. Farm Bureau spokesman Steve Ammerman says farms don’t work like factories or shops, and an ill timed strike could wipe out a year’s crop.

Matt Ryan

What began in January as an ambitious reform package to address a wave of corruption at the Capitol, proposed by Governor Cuomo, dwindled to just two proposals by the time the session closed in the pre dawn hours of Saturday morning.  Here’s a look at what happened.

Back in January, Governor Cuomo proposed a number of changes to react to a wave of corruption that led to the convictions of the two former leader of the legislature on felony corruption charges.

Matt Ryan

While state lawmakers are still hung up over how to cancel the pensions of legislators convicted of felonies,  among other end of session issues, they have agreed to extend the hours each week that New Yorkers can legally drink at bars and restaurants.

New Yorkers will now be able to order a drink, or two, with their brunch, or in some cases breakfast, at bars and restaurants on Sunday morning.  The current law forbids sale of alcohol before noon on Sunday. But starting when Governor Cuomo signs the bill into law, alcohol will be available starting two hours earlier.

Matt Ryan/WMHT

The legislature was closing down on an end of session  deal that would strip convicted lawmakers of their pensions, extend mayoral control of New York City schools for one more year, and legalize Daily Fantasy sports gambling.

Legislators already agreed to expand the hours New Yorkers can drink alcohol, permitting drinks to be served at 10 am on Sunday, instead of the current noon starting time. On certain special occasions, bars and restaurants can apply for a permit to start serving liquor at 8 am.