Karen Kasler

Bureau Chief

Credit Kristen Kasler Peters

Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.

Karen Kasler is a lifelong Ohioan. She grew up in Lancaster, attended Otterbein College in Westerville, and found her first professional break at WCBE-FM, Columbus. Karen was selected as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Program for Mid-Career Journalists at The Ohio State University in 1994. After earning her Master's Degree in that program, she worked at WBNS-TV in Columbus and then moved north to become the afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor for WTAM-AM, Cleveland. Karen followed the demolition and rebuilding of Cleveland Browns Stadium, produced award-winning series on identity theft and the Y2K panic, covered the Republican National Convention in 2000 and the blackout of 2003, and reported annually from the Cleveland National Air Show each year, often going upside down in an aerobatic plane to do it. In 1999, she was a media witness to the execution of Wilford Berry, at the time the first man put to death since Ohio re-instated capital punishment. Karen frequently reported for ABC Radio News, and also co-produced an award-winning nationally-distributed documentary on the one-year anniversary of September 11, 2001, which featured her interview with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge from the West Wing of the White House.

Since returning to Columbus, she's covered major elections and the controversies surrounding them. Each year she anchors the Bureau's live coverage of the governor's State of the State. She was a moderator for US Senate debates in 2012 and 2010, participated in several debates in 2010, and has led debates over statewide issues. She's produced features for NPR and "Marketplace", and has been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, NBC and several local and regional stations around the country. She's a regular panelist on WCPN/ideastream's "The Sound of Ideas", a frequent guest on WOSU-TV’s “Columbus on the Record” and has appeared on WBNS-TV's "Face the State".

She's been honored by the Association of Capitol Editors and Reporters, the Cleveland Press Club/Society of Professional Journalists, the Ohio Educational Telecommunications Commission, and holds a National Headliner Award. She's won several awards from the Ohio AP, and is a four-time winner of the AP's Best Broadcast Writing award. She's a three-time Emmy nominee for "The State of Ohio". She's a past president of the Ohio Associated Press, and currently on the Board of Directors for the Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists. Karen is also a former adjunct professor at Capital University in Columbus.

Karen, her husband and their son Jack live on Columbus' northeast side.

Karen Kasler

60% of Ohio public school students living in poverty scored below proficient on required statewide tests, and the districts that have the lowest test scores have the highest percentages of poor students. That’s based on data from the Ohio Department of Education.  State lawmakers are now studying the connection between education and poverty.

Daniel Konik/OGT

Senators are expected to come back to the Statehouse on Tuesday and vote on at least one overrides that the House approved last month on 11 of Gov. John Kasich’s 47 budget vetoes. And as Republicans consider how and what they'll vote on, Senate Democrats are trying to figure out their strategy.

Subodh Chandra/Muslim Advocates

The central Ohio man who’s behind the white nationalist website "The Daily Stormer" has gotten a lot of attention since this weekend’s violence in Virginia. He’s now getting hit with a defamation lawsuit filed in Columbus by a well-known Muslim comedian, columnist and radio host.

Karen Kasler

It’s not unusual for pharmaceutical companies to offer payments to doctors – for speaking fees, for travel expenses, for lunches and for gifts. But a new study shows one in five family doctors in America have received a payment involving an opioid medication – and Ohio is among the top states in the country in terms of dollars involved in those payments.

Karen Kasler

*Editor's note (8/15/17): The Senate has now announced the voting session will happen on August 22, and the session on August 23 has been cancelled.

Last month, state representatives voted to override a budget veto for the first time in 40 years. They actually overrode 11 of Gov. John Kasich’s 47 vetoes. Senators are now deciding which of those overrides to vote on, and that they may ask the House to consider overriding more vetoes.

Karen Kasler

At one point, four in ten incoming freshmen on Ohio’s public colleges and university campuses needed refresher courses on things they should have learned in high school. That number is falling, but officials are still concerned about the number of kids needing remedial work – which can be costly.

Karen Kasler

There were a lot of cuts in this new state budget, largely because tax revenues were off nearly $850 million dollars for the last fiscal year. There’s one budget cut that’s small, but some worry it could have a huge impact on people who really need that money.

yesonissue2.com/deceptiverxissue.org

The November election is more than three months away. But there is action ongoing with the issue that’s likely to be the most expensive ballot question in state history – a proposed law that would force the state to only buy drugs at a discounted price.

Karen Kasler

After years of big numbers, attendance at this year’s Ohio State Fair plummeted to its lowest number in 13 years.

Karen Kasler

The sale of prize winning livestock raised by Junior Fair exhibitors raised $284,000 and the price of the reserve grand champion market barrow broke a four year old record. Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels said individual exhibitor earnings from the sale are capped, with the excess going into a shared fund. “We’ve helped over 300,000 kids and youth through the sale by kind of spreading that prize money around a little bit,” Daniels said.

Statehouse News Bureau

An outspoken advocate against the death penalty says though yesterday’s lethal injection of Ronald Phillips was problem-free, he worries that won’t be the case with the more than two dozen executions that are scheduled over the next three years.

Beth Gianforcaro

The state auditor is warning local governments that they’re risking taxpayer money if they don’t have policies on employees’ use of debit or credit cards.

Karen Kasler

Gov. John Kasich calls it the worst tragedy in the history of the Ohio State Fair. One person was killed and seven were injured, three of them critically, in a catastrophic ride malfunction on the first night of the fair.

Karen Kasler

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor says she’s still in the race for governor next year, though over the weekend she missed the largest statewide party event before the May primary.

Daniel Konik

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the right of cities to use traffic cameras without certain restrictions passed by state lawmakers, saying the state law that restricts those cameras is unconstitutional.

Statehouse News Bureau

Nine months after lawmakers created a committee to examine state tax breaks and loopholes to see which ones should be abolished or closed off, that committee finally has some members.

Karen Kasler

The Ohio Republican Party’s state dinner this weekend brought in hundreds, and included two leaders with two different perspectives on the Senate health care bill. And that puts the person who’ll actually be voting on it in a tough position.

Karen Kasler

Hundreds of Republicans came to Columbus over the weekend for their biggest statewide fundraising event, featuring Vice President Mike Pence. His speech came a week he made comments about Ohio’s Medicaid expansion that Gov. John Kasich labeled “fake news”. And it also drew the people who want to replace Kasich next year.

Karen Kasler

Ohio tax collections for the fiscal year that ended last month were more than $850 million off estimates. But the state ended the year with a balance of nearly $171 million. And almost a third of that was transferred from 15 pools of money held within various state agencies.

ohiobusinessgateway.ohio.gov

Gov. John Kasich’s initial state budget would have required businesses to file a certain tax with the state instead of in the cities they operate. After objections from cities, the final state budget made that an option. But it’s still under debate on both sides.

Ohio Supreme Court

The only Democrat holding statewide office in Ohio says he won’t follow through on the run for governor he was considering – because he says his favored candidate will be getting into the race.

Daniel Konik

The Ohio Supreme Court has decided a tough case that involving two young parents, which will likely mean a two-year-old child will be taken from the Tennessee family he’s lived with since birth.

Karen Kasler

It’s been six years since delinquent taxpayers in Ohio were given a chance to pay up without penalties. The new state budget gives them another opportunity at the beginning of next year.

Daniel Konik/OGT

The state budget director took a lot of heat for tax collections that came in nearly a billion dollars below his projections.  That office is trying to make sure it doesn’t miss with its forecast for the new budget. But as he notes on "The State of Ohio" this weekend, there are still a lot of economic uncertainties to deal with.  

Karen Kasler

A national initiative to revive civility and respect in political talk is launching tomorrow at the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

Jo Ingles

One of Gov. John Kasich’s vetoes overridden by the House last week involves a tax on managed care organizations that helps raise money for counties and transit authorities. And those local groups are hoping Senators go along with that override.

Karen Kasler

Nine of the 11 vetoes that state representatives voted to override in the state budget this week are related to Medicaid, though not the big veto on the plan to freeze Medicaid expansion enrollment next year. That was likely no accident, because Medicaid was in the spotlight and under the microscope this time.

Karen Kasler

The state budget director was off by almost a billion dollars in its projections on tax collections for the fiscal year. But his prediction that the year that ended last week would close in the black was right.

Karen Kasler

There may have been occasional disagreements between Ohio’s Republican-dominated House and Senate and Republican Gov. John Kasich, but he’d issued more than a hundred vetoes in his seven years in office without one being overturned. Today, that changed dramatically.

medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov

The window to apply to become growers under Ohio’s medical marijuana program has closed, with the state receiving 185 applications – all with nonrefundable fees attached.

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