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.

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.

Statehouse News Bureau

It may seem like the budget is coming down to the wire. But waiting till the last minute to get the budget in place is pretty typical.

Statehouse News Bureau

Business and labor leaders, as well as Ohio’s cities, are very concerned about how some money is being moved around to balance the budget in the face of a billion dollar projected shortfall. 

Karen Kasler

Just before state lawmakers started debating the budget, Gov. John Kasich wasn’t saying much, though he made it clear he was in the Statehouse waiting to get that spending plan.

Karen Kasler

With just two days to go before the budget is required to be signed by the governor, state lawmakers will cast their votes on it today. And there's a controversial provision that stayed in after all day negotiations with the conference committee.

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Just hours before the US Senate announced its health insurance bill would be delayed, Gov. John Kasich was speaking out about funding for Medicaid with another governor – a Democrat.

mikedewine.com

The worst-kept secret in Ohio politics was revealed on Sunday, with Mike DeWine launching his campaign for governor and starting a tour of the state.

Twitter

Several state government websites in Ohio and two other states were down for several hours after hackers posted messages that seem to support the Islamic State.

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.

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