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.

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With a week to go before the primary, a supporter of Republican frontrunner for governor Mike DeWine is claiming that a $3 million loan to the campaign of DeWine’s opponent was an illegal contribution.

Kabir Bhatia, WKSU

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that cities have the right to operate traffic cameras. Now the court is deciding whether a lower court can block a plan to cut state funding to certain communities using those cameras. 

theohiocouncil.org

The state is moving mental health and addiction services for low income Ohioans into Medicaid managed care by July 1, and it’s the biggest and most complicated change the behavioral health system in Ohio has ever seen. But a survey of more than a hundred of those providers shows the redesign is straining their finances and could shut them down.

Karen Kasler

A bill to crack down on payday lending passed an Ohio House committee without any changes – a week after the House Speaker resigned and a vote on it was halted.

Daniel Konik

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Ohio’s death penalty law.

Ohio House

Another state representative has confirmed he’s interested in the job of House Speaker, now that Cliff Rosenberger has resigned following reports that the FBI is asking questions about his travel alongside lobbyists connected to payday lending.

Karen Kasler

What was once the state’s largest online charter school has been shut down since January – after saying it couldn’t pay the bill the state says it owes for overcounting students. But the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is still trying to win at least one battle in its ongoing legal war with the state.

Ohio House

The sudden resignation of Speaker Cliff Rosenberger – after reports the FBI is looking into his travel records – has left the top leadership role in the Ohio House up for grabs. And those who would like the job are lining up.

Screenshot: youtube.com

With a little over three weeks till the primary, the Republican candidates for governor and their supporters are spending millions on advertising. The ad war is heating up, with lawyers now getting involved.

Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies' "State of Poverty 2017" report

A group that advocates for low-income people has issued its annual report on the state of poverty in Ohio. 

Karen Kasler

Though Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced on Tuesday that he would leave May 1, his resignation is now effective immediately. But Rosenberger is still maintaining his innocence in the face of an FBI inquiry.

Karen Kasler

It’s not uncommon to see a tent on the Statehouse grounds – but the beginnings of a full-sized house right outside the west stairs of the building was unusual.

Karen Kasler

The Speaker of the Ohio House has resigned, days after he hired a lawyer and admitted he’d learned  the FBI was asking questions about him.

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Lawmakers are returning to Columbus after spring break amid mounting questions about the House Speaker and an FBI inquiry into activities he may be involved in. 

Karen Kasler

The three-member team comprising the Statehouse News Bureau covers the Governor and other executive officeholders, the General Assembly, the Supreme Court and state agencies, along with campaigns and elections. Here are three stories that showcase how we report, follow and explain the business of state government.

Karen Kasler

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger has hired a lawyer after he says he learned the FBI is asking questions about activities he may be involved in. But Rosenberger says he hasn’t been told he’s under investigation. And Rosenberger’s second in command in the House isn't saying much about what’s next.

Karen Kasler

At this time last year, state lawmakers were in the midst of creating a two year budget with a deficit that was more than a half a billion dollars. It’s a different situation this year, but for the second month in a row, personal income tax collections came in at a rate lower than expected.

Jay Hanselman, WVXU

People who work in Ohio’s largest industry are getting hit with a triple threat – a bad economy, heavy rain and cool temperatures, and now the possibility of a trade war with their products in the middle of it.

Karen Kasler

Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis, where he’d gone for a march to support striking sanitation workers. Events were held around the country to remember King, including at the Statehouse.

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Democratic state lawmakers say they want to bring back guaranteed overtime protections that were supposed to be put into place two years ago but have been blocked by lawsuits in federal court.

Karen Kasler

Gov. John Kasich will speak Tuesday at a college in New Hampshire – which many are reading as yet another signal that he’s considering another run for president. This trip comes a day after Kasich spoke at a forum convened by a national news website at Ohio State.

Sarah Ramsey, WVXU

A bill halfway through the legislature would allow the state to deduct the amount cities take in from traffic cameras from their state funding. Even though only about a dozen or so communities in Ohio are using cameras, cities are fighting the proposal.

Twitter

FirstEnergy says it’s starting the process of shutting down its two nuclear power plants in northwest and northeast Ohio, saying it can’t compete with lower natural gas prices. But the company says it’s willing to work with lawmakers to find ways to keep them operating.

Twitter/Wes Goodman

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor continues to call for a debate with Attorney General Mike DeWine – saying her opponent in the Republican primary for governor has been unclear and even flip flopped on Medicaid expansion. But it appears Taylor also has made a major change on that issue.

Medicaid expansion is one of Republican Gov. John Kasich’s signature accomplishments, but it’s unlikely to remain if either his lieutenant governor or the attorney general is elected to replace him. And that would create a crisis for some 700,000 Ohioans in Medicaid expansion, most of whom are chronically ill or drug addicted.

Daniel Konik

This weekend brought huge protests over gun laws and another appearance by Gov. John Kasich on a Sunday morning national TV news show, talking about his recent and public change of heart on gun laws. But it’s still unclear whether recently discussed gun law changes will move forward with state lawmakers.

Individual stories can be found here.

Individual stories/pics are located here:

Karen Kasler

Several cities are considering legislation on guns if state lawmakers don’t pass gun law reforms – though a state law from a decade ago prevents them from passing stricter laws. The Democrat who argued for that law is now running for governor, and is being asked about that.

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