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

New numbers from the state budget office show Senate Republicans were correct in saying they needed to close a billion dollar hole in the upcoming budget. And the trend of the state having less money to spend will continue.

Daniel Konik

It would be easier for people who were wrongly convicted in Ohio to get compensation for the time they spent in prison, according to a provision in the budget that’s passed both the House and Senate. But critics say that could cost the state a lot of money.

Statehouse News Bureau

There’s a controversial proposal in the state budget that will be voted on this week that its supporters say would cut down on prison overcrowding. But opponents say this prison diversion program, now in operation in eight counties, is the wrong tactic in Ohio’s deadly opioid crisis.

Karen Kasler

As the state’s budget shortfall approaches a billion dollars, a tax cut adopted four years ago is getting close attention. The small business tax cut promoted by Republican leaders has saved business owners money – but has gained a lot of criticism in the process.

Stuart Monk/Shutterstock.com

Both the House and Senate increased the amount the state will spend on its 610 school districts beyond Gov. John Kasich’s original budget proposal. But school leaders are concerned about a big cut that’s remained through all three versions of the budget.

Karen Kasler

The issue of faith comes into state politics in issues such as abortion and health care. But faith leaders came to the Statehouse today to speak out on another issue that hasn’t seen much action in nearly a decade – payday lending.

Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments, provided by the Ohio Department of Education

The state school superintendent is recommending cutting out some mandated state tests, and suggesting that local districts consider trimming tests for teacher evaluations.

Ohio Senate

Senate Democrats are sounding off on the changes Republican leadership made in the House version of the state budget, which the GOP says will deal with a deficit that could be a billion dollars.

Karen Kasler

Ohio’s largest online charter school has promised to continue its legal battle with the state department of education. But the state school board still voted today to require the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow to return $60 million in overpayments for students it couldn’t prove were enrolled full time.

Karen Kasler

Senators will unveil their version of the state budget today – they needed to trim hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure it’s balanced. But critics are pointing to a small business tax cut as the reason the state’s tax revenues are short by nearly a billion dollars.

Karen Kasler

The state school board votes on Monday on whether to require the state’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, to pay back $60 million in state funding it got for actually having 60% fewer students than it claimed it did. It’s the latest in the fight between ECOT and the state, and it won’t be the last.

Karen Kasler

The Senate’s changes to the House version of the upcoming state budget will be released soon.  And those changes will be important, since Gov. John Kasich told lawmakers they’d have to cut $800 million from his initial budget because of falling tax revenues.

Karen Kasler

State lawmakers have been working to find ways to trim $800 million in spending from the next two-year budget. And that’s one reason why a $5 million allocation to a new program at Ohio State University has gotten some attention. Another is it came from the House Speaker.

Karen Kasler

A study from a pro-charter school group shows that open enrollment in public schools helped students – in one population, their grades dramatically improved.

Twitter

One of the nation’s largest health insurers says it will stop offering policies in the Ohio marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act.

Karen Kasler

Senators are preparing to put out their version of the state budget, in which they need to trim hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure it’s balanced. And now the state budget office is reporting another big loss in tax collections for the current fiscal year.

OGT/Ohio Channel

Nearly all of Ohio’s public school students are taking tests online. But one state lawmaker wants to preserve the pencil and paper option. The state school superintendent appeared on "The State of Ohio" this weekend, and said he's not impressed with that idea.

Andy Chow

Some 47,000 of Ohio’s high school juniors are in danger of not meeting a set of tough new graduation standards for next year. And the state school superintendent says he’s pleased that the Senate version of the budget will likely include an alternative for those students.

Ohio House Republican Caucus Communications

A Republican state lawmaker says companies have left Ohio because of a lack of access to air travel. He says Ohio can bring back jobs and more flights by building two new regional hub airports, one in the southwest and one in the northeast. 

Karen Kasler

A group of advocates is pushing for more gun control legislation, even as state lawmakers are debating several pro-gun bills. And the Ohio Coalition for Common Sense brought in a notable name for their launch.

The state wants to change to the way mental health and addiction services are billed and coded, to align with national standards. But providers of those services, which are already stressed because of the opioid crisis, are very concerned.

Steve Dettelbach campaign

The Democratic ticket for next fall’s ballot continues to fill up. A candidate who’s expressed interest in the attorney general’s office has officially announced he’s running.

Karen Kasler

A bill that could limit a coroner’s power over death certificates is under debate at the Statehouse.

OGT/Ohio Channel

Among the observances of Memorial Day around the state was the annual Governor’s Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Statehouse.  

Daniel Konik

Federal stats show nearly 14,000 jobs at call centers in Ohio have been lost in the last decade. Now Senate Democrats have proposed a bill that seeks to protect 170,000 workers still at call centers in Ohio.

Karen Kasler

In his State of the State speech last month, Gov. John Kasich announced he wants the state’s Third Frontier commission to spend $20 million toward high-tech solutions to the deadly opioid crisis. The panel has taken the first step toward doing that.

Leslie Adams

Political figures past and present were on hand in the Statehouse rotunda to honor seven former Speakers of the House, going back 50 years. The leaders, along with their families, friends and colleagues, were  there for the unveiling of their portraits.

tonefotografia/shutterstock.com

Next year’s graduating high school senior must get a good score over seven different final tests or on a college entrance exam, or earn an industry credential. As many as 47,000 high school juniors are potentially on track to fail to meet those standards. An amendment that may be attached to the budget in the Senate seeks to help those students.

Karen Kasler

There’s been a lot of discussion about when or if to use the $2 billion in the state’s rainy day fund. A national group has studied the impact of using rainy day funds in budget crises.

The jobless rate fell last month, but the state also lost jobs. That doesn't seem to make sense, but the state says there's positive news here.

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