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NCPR News Staff: Karen DeWitt

NYS Capitol Correspondent
Karen DeWitt has covered state government and politics at the New York State Capitol for public radio for ten years. Before that she worked at WINS, New York. She has also written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life, Empire State Report, and Metroland. E-mail

Stories filed by Karen DeWitt

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Former Rep. Kathy Hochul will be Gov. Cuomo's 2014 running mate. Photo: US House of Representatives
Former Rep. Kathy Hochul will be Gov. Cuomo's 2014 running mate. Photo: US House of Representatives

Lt. Gov candidate Hochul keeps a low profile

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's running mate Lieutenant Governor Nominee Kathy Hochul is keeping an unusually low profile during the first months of the election campaign. The lack of public campaigning by Hochul is starting to raise some questions.  Go to full article
There’s so much grass roots support in the state from so many people who supported Cuomo but then have been disappointed with the governor over the last four years.

Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo primary challenger, will file petitions Thurs night

The Democratic Primary challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Zephyr Teachout, expects to file more than 40,000 signatures late Thursday to obtain a place on the ballot.  Go to full article
GOP candidate for Governor Rob Astorino at press conference on opposition to the Common Core learning standards at the Capitol Tuesday. Photo by Karen DeWitt
GOP candidate for Governor Rob Astorino at press conference on opposition to the Common Core learning standards at the Capitol Tuesday. Photo by Karen DeWitt

Astorino wants Stop Common Core ballot line

The Republican running for governor this year wants to convert public opposition to controversial new education standards into votes against the incumbent governor he says is pushing them.  Go to full article
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing the Compassionate Care Act into law on July 7, 2014. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/14596648924/">Office of Gov. Cuomo</a>
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing the Compassionate Care Act into law on July 7, 2014. Photo: Office of Gov. Cuomo

Medical marijuana becomes legal in New York

New York is now the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana, now that Governor Cuomo has signed a bill into law. But it will be some time before patients will have access to the drug.

New York will now permit patients with diseases like cancer and AIDS to have access to some forms of medical marijuana. Governor Cuomo, who in the past opposed the idea, came around after several new regulations and restriction guarantees were written into the legislation.  Go to full article
Albany from above. Photo: <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Albany.jpg">Karthik Chinnathambi</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Albany from above. Photo: Karthik Chinnathambi, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

GOP Senators say Democrats will neglect upstate and Long Island

Senate Republicans have a new strategy in what's shaping up to be an election battle for control of the State Senate. They say now that a group of breakaway Democrats is abandoning them and rejoining the rest of the Democrats, the Senate will be dominated by New York City liberals who won't care about Upstate and Long Island.  Go to full article
The NY Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC): Senator Diane Savino, Senator Tony Avella, Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, and Senator David Valesky. Photo: IDC
The NY Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC): Senator Diane Savino, Senator Tony Avella, Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, and Senator David Valesky. Photo: IDC

NY Senate faction leader says his group will maintain independence

Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) Leader Jeff Klein says even though his group now plans to realign with the Democrats in the Senate, he won't rule out working with Republicans in the future.

Senator Klein says the decision by the IDC members to switch allegiances from a coalition with the Republicans to a governing arraignment with the Democrats was all about the issues.  Go to full article
The New York State Senate chamber. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/32051524@N08/5194328403/">JvL</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The New York State Senate chamber. Photo: JvL, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Deal between Senate factions could give Democrats full control in Albany

Republicans are on the verge of losing control of New York's Senate, with two Democratic factions saying they'll come together in what could be a strong Democratic majority after this fall's elections.

A renegade group of Democrats had joined with Republicans to form a majority coalition two years ago. This new alliance would leave the GOP out of power.  Go to full article
At a pre-K program in New York City. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/10485077@N06/3799027263/">edenpictures</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
At a pre-K program in New York City. Photo: edenpictures, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NYS "universal pre-K" gets off to a very slow start

Fewer than 20 percent of school districts outside of New York City have expressed interest in expanding their pre-kindergarten programs. Critics say that falls far short of the goals of a program billed in the state budget as universal pre-K, and many schools say that there are too many obstacles in the funding program.

When the state budget was approved back on March 31, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders touted funding for pre-kindergarten that they said could lead to universal pre-K in New York.  Go to full article
Inside the Capitol. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/54021469@N00/394233312/">Holley St. Germain</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Inside the Capitol. Photo: Holley St. Germain, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Reform groups urge "No" vote on redistricting ballot amendment

Government reform groups are beginning their push early to convince voters to reject an amendment on redistricting on the state's November ballot. They say it's a sham that does not offer the changes that it promises.

The government reform groups say Senate and Assembly districts are drawn in New York in a blatantly partisan manner. They used humor to get their point across, conducting what Blair Horner, with the New York Public Interest Research Group calls the Pablo Picasso-Salvador Dali contest for finding the most creatively designed district.  Go to full article
Senate medical marijuana sponsor Diane Savino discusses successful vote  in the Senate. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Senate medical marijuana sponsor Diane Savino discusses successful vote in the Senate. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Medical marijuana passes NYS senate 49-10

The sponsor of the successful medical marijuana measure in the Senate, Sen. Diane Savino, says she's "gratified" by the larger-than-expected number of yes votes, and hopes the new law ha wider repercussions.  Go to full article

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