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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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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

Activists webcast Assembly meetings during Sunshine Week

Government reform activists took their smart phones into Assembly Committee meetings to live stream meetings that so far have not been available on line to the public.

To mark what's known as Sunshine Week, to promote a more open government, the activists took their smart phones into several Assembly Committee meetings, and using simple software, pressed record and streamed the proceedings live on the Internet.  Go to full article
Assemblyman Francisco Moya speaking in support of the NYS DREAM Act. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Assemblyman Francisco Moya speaking in support of the NYS DREAM Act. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Dream Act supporters vow to fight on

Supporters of Dream Act legislation say they were "set up" when a hastily arranged vote on the bill in the Senate chamber late Monday led to the measure's failure by just one vote.

The focus is now shifting to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Backers say they will try to get the governor to put the measure into the state budget.  Go to full article
The New York State Senate chamber, the site of a late-night debate on campaign finance reform. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/32051524@N08/5194328403/">JvL</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The New York State Senate chamber, the site of a late-night debate on campaign finance reform. Photo: JvL, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

The NYS Dream Act is dead, for now

The Dream Act is dead for now in New York State, after the State Senate voted down the measure that would have granted college tuition aid to the children of undocumented immigrants.

The 30-29 vote defeating the Dream Act left leaders of rival Democratic factions pointing fingers.  Go to full article
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, flanked at Monday's event by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Ulster County Executive Michael Hein. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office, via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/13227891004/sizes/z/in/photostream/">Flicker</a>
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, flanked at Monday's event by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Ulster County Executive Michael Hein. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office, via Flicker

Cuomo pushes property tax freeze as support lags in NYS legislature

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has enlisted the aid of some local government leaders to promote his tax freeze proposal, which has been losing ground in the New York State legislature. Cuomo promoted his plan Monday surrounded by several county executives from across the state.

The state legislature doesn't support the plan, but Cuomo says he's signed up 150 local government leaders as supporters.  Go to full article
The New York State Senate chamber, the site of a late-night debate on campaign finance reform. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/32051524@N08/5194328403/">JvL</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The New York State Senate chamber, the site of a late-night debate on campaign finance reform. Photo: JvL, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Public campaign financing is in Senate budget; what does it mean?

For the first time, New York's state Senate has included Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan for public campaign financing in its budget resolution. The inclusion of public campaign financing would seem to signal an abrupt change of policy for Republicans, who co-lead the Senate. The GOP has long maintained that a matching small donor plan using public funds is a waste of the taxpayers' money, and would only lead to more annoying "robocalls."

The sparsely-worded provision, however, has raised many more questions than answers. It simply says that the Senate intends to "modify" Cuomo's proposal to "adopt a system of public campaign finance."  Go to full article
NY Senate Independent Democratic conference leader Jeff Klein. Photo: Karen DeWitt
NY Senate Independent Democratic conference leader Jeff Klein. Photo: Karen DeWitt

Senate says "no" to cuts in bank taxes, says it will use money to help families

A Senate co-leader is claiming victory for the Senate's rejection of a cut in banking taxes proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Jeff Klein is the leader of the Independent Democratic conference that shares leadership with Republicans in the state Senate. He says the resolution will use the $350 million in savings to help families.  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

Would Cuomo tax freeze plan hurt small business?

Both houses of the legislature are making changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax freeze plan in their budget proposals. And now, small business groups are speaking out, saying the proposal favors some homeowners, at their expense.  Go to full article
Education funding protesters outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Wednesday. Photo: Karen DeWitt
Education funding protesters outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Wednesday. Photo: Karen DeWitt

More money for schools, environment, in NYS Assembly budget proposal

Assembly Democrats say there should be more money for schools and the environment, and major changes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to freeze property taxes. The Assembly's one-house budget resolution is the first step in reaching agreement on a final spending plan by the end of March.  Go to full article
The New York State Department of Education. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwren/6773463427/sizes/z/in/photolist-bjxLGc-9XiG5U-dwCCjH-iKeoJG-8vBW9D-8vEXcj-8vBWaH-8vEXjo-8vBW4Z-8uYY6S-8uYX59-8uVTqx-8uYXCy-8uYX7w-8uYX9q-8uYXBh-8uVTTM-8vBVJ2-8vEXiu-8vBVL8-8vBVPR-8vBWbc-8vBWcM-8vEXd9-8vEXGf-8vBW8g-8vBVZr-8vEXpw-8vEXmG-8vBVXt-8vEXvJ-8Gm87Y-8vBWhi-aKH8sX-8vBWhH-8vEXJ9-8vBWgB-8vBW22-8vEXkh-8vEXHS-8vBVTe-8vEXxW-8vBVYM-8vBVWt-8vEXHs-8vEXwC-8vBW7x-8vBWdB-8vBVVr-8vEXtU-8vBVUB/">Mike Wren</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The New York State Department of Education. Photo: Mike Wren, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

In NYS Regents election, three remain while one resigns

New York's legislature today replaced one member of the State Board of Regents, but allowed three others to remain, in elections held for the state's top educational policy board. The vote featured complaints from Republican Senators who voted against all of the candidates to demonstrate their displeasure with the state's implementation of the new Common Core.  Go to full article
New York state's Department of Education. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwren/6773463427/sizes/z/in/photolist-bjxLGc-9XiG5U-dwCCjH-iKeoJG-8vBW9D-8vEXcj-8vBWaH-8vEXjo-8vBW4Z-8uYY6S-8uYX59-8uVTqx-8uYXCy-8uYX7w-8uYX9q-8uYXBh-8uVTTM-8vBVJ2-8vEXiu-8vBVL8-8vBVPR-8vBWbc-8vBWcM-8vEXd9-8vEXGf-8vBW8g-8vBVZr-8vEXpw-8vEXmG-8vBVXt-8vEXvJ-8Gm87Y-8vBWhi-aKH8sX-8vBWhH-8vEXJ9-8vBWgB-8vBW22-8vEXkh-8vEXHS-8vBVTe-8vEXxW-8vBVYM-8vBVWt-8vEXHs-8vEXwC-8vBW7x-8vBWdB-8vBVVr-8vEXtU-8vBVUB/">Mike Wren</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
New York state's Department of Education. Photo: Mike Wren, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY GOP will no longer boycott election of new Regents

Senate Republicans say they will break a longstanding tradition of boycotting the election of new member of New York's board of Regents, the group responsible for the general supervision of education in the state. The Republicans now say they will attend a joint legislative session, and that many will vote no over dissatisfaction with the Common Core. It's uncertain whether all four of the incumbent Regents members will be reelected.  Go to full article

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