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

Democrats have been blasting Republican Attorney General and candidate for governor Mike DeWine for not doing more about the multi-million dollar scandal involving the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, the now-closed online charter school. But Republicans are pushing back.

Daniel Konik

It was a busy holiday for groups that want voters to approve two new constitutional amendments this fall. Both proposals got thousands of petition signatures, but they also both have their critics.

Karen Kasler

New regulations on so-called puppy mills will take effect in a few weeks, with Gov. John Kasich signing a bill into law on Friday. And that has animal rights activists who had been wanting to put a puppy mill crackdown before voters calling off their campaign.

Karen Kasler

This Independence Day, many fireworks retailers in Ohio have abandoned the form that buyers had been required to sign saying they’d take their purchases out of state to set them off. But the sponsor of a bipartisan fireworks bill hopes for a lot of changes by next year.

Ohioans are now navigating a new process to get their driver’s licenses. It’s mostly the same, but with a big difference.

Ohio House

Two Democratic women state representatives have asked Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine to reopen an investigation into comments made by the Majority Floor Leader at a going-away party in January. They say they’re concerned not only about the alleged conduct of Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), but with a previous investigation that cleared him of wrongdoing.

Daniel Konik

On Sunday – the start of the state’s new fiscal year – the most complicated change the behavioral health system in Ohio has ever undergone officially kicks in. And some providers of addiction and mental illness treatment and counseling for low-income Ohioans are worried they won’t survive being moved into the Medicaid managed care system.

Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill that would continue $2.5 million in funding for a 40-year-old program providing wraparound services for at-risk kids with severe behavioral needs in Cuyahoga County. The program’s operator had said it was concerned that services would have to stop because of a dispute over who should pay for them.

Karen Kasler

The Republican candidate for governor has released what he says is a plan to invest in Ohio’s kids, families and future. But Democrats are saying his record shows he can’t be trusted on this.

On Sunday, the state will officially move providers of behavioral health services for low-income Ohioans into Medicaid managed care. That’s a huge change for how they get paid for providing addiction and mental illness treatment, family counseling and other services. And these last few days are causing lots of worry for some of those providers.

A national group that says Ohio’s payday lending rates are the highest in the nation came out strongly against possible changes to a bill that would crack down on the industry.

equalityohio.org

A bill that two conservative Republican lawmakers say asserts a parent’s right to decide if their transgender child should undergo treatment is getting strong pushback from an LGBTQ rights group.

Andy Chow

A new audit commissioned by Ohio’s Medicaid program shows that there’s a nearly 9 percent differential between what the state pays the two companies managing Medicaid pharmacy benefits and what those companies pay pharmacies for those drugs. The head of the office that manages Medicaid isn’t ready to say whether that’s appropriate or a rip-off.

Karen Kasler

Some major proposed changes are coming to a bill that passed the House overwhelmingly earlier this month cracking down on the payday lending industry in Ohio. Borrowers here pay an average of 591 percent annual interest, the highest in the nation. While one Republican Senator is hoping for a compromise, supporters of the original plan are furious.

Ohio House

Two Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that they say would protect the rights of parents who oppose efforts to help their transgender children transition.

Karen Kasler

The former Speaker of the US House was honored yesterday at his former workplace, the Ohio Statehouse. John Boehner spoke after a resolution honoring his six years as a state representative in the 80s before he was elected to Congress.

Derek Jensen (Tysto); Wikimedia Commons

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the state can cut funding to certain communities using traffic cameras. But the ruling may not have much of an effect.

Karen Kasler

The House has overwhelmingly passed a bill to adopt a model curriculum for schools to use to teach cursive handwriting to elementary school kids.

"Meet the Press Daily", MSNBC

The so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill is likely to come to the floor of the House next week, just before lawmakers leave for an extended break. And that might not be the end of the road for that controversial measure.

Karen Kasler

The new Speaker of the Ohio House is citing a two-year-old study from a pro-charter school group slamming the performance of virtual charter schools. And there may be changes coming in the laws that govern those online schools following the ECOT scandal.

Karen Kasler

Democrats are saying thousands of voters could be affected by the US Supreme Court’s decision upholding the way Ohio deletes inactive registrations. But the Secretary of State, who’s also the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, says the law prevents voters from being removed before the fall election.

Karen Kasler

The controversial proposal to merge K-12, higher education and workforce development into one big cabinet level state agency won’t go forward any time soon. The plan was backed by some Republican lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich, but had lots of opposition.

Daniel Konik

When a sports fan goes to a game and gets a free promotional item like a bobblehead, does the team have to pay taxes on that freebie? That was the question before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Karen Kasler

A task force of health insurers convened by the Attorney General’s office has come up with 15 recommendations on how they can help with the opioid crisis that’s killing an estimated 14 Ohioans a day.

Daniel Konik

The Secretary of State says no voters will be removed from the rolls before the November election, in spite of the US Supreme Court ruling upholding Ohio’s process of deleting inactive voters’ registrations.

Karen Kasler

In a little over two weeks, mental health and addiction services for low income Ohioans will be moved into Medicaid managed care. But many behavioral health and family services providers say this huge change is straining their finances. But the group that represents Ohio’s health insurers says the move can’t be delayed.

As the House was going through multiple rounds of voting to pick a new Speaker, the Senate passed a surprise amendment to expand the state auditor’s power to look into the workings of the privatized non-profit entity JobsOhio.

Karen Kasler

A progressive think tank says data from the Ohio Department of Education’s website shows not only how much state money went to the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, but also how much traditional public school districts lost to what was the state’s largest online charter school.

Karen Kasler

For the second month in a row, the state has brought in more personal income tax revenue than it budgeted for, meaning its surplus is growing. 

Ohio House

A two-term African-American state lawmaker said she’s been talking for more than a year about being discriminated against by Statehouse security, even when she was wearing her security badge and the pin marking her as a legislator, and when colleagues who were with her were not stopped.

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