Karen Kasler

Ohio Public Radio and TV Statehouse Bureau Chief

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets.  She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.

Karen is a graduate of Otterbein College, and earned her Master’s as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Program for Mid-Career Journalists at The Ohio State University. Karen has been honored by the Associated Press, the Association of Capitol Editors and Reporters, the Cleveland Press Club/Society of Professional Journalists, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Ohio Valley Emmys, and holds a National Headliner Award. 

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Once again, state lawmakers are trying to green light new rules for how communities can use speed and red light cameras, especially smaller communities that get a big percentage of their revenue from tickets. 

Columbus Democratic Rep. Hearcel Craig is going after communities without mayors’ courts that are running traffic camera programs. He says some violations come with fines in the hundreds to thousands of dollars which he says is “abusive and excessive."

photo of Third Frontier Commission panel
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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.

photo of unveiled Ohio Speaker portraits
LESLIE ADAMS / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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 ceremony was used to unveil portraits of those former leaders.

Republican former Speaker Bill Batchelder, who served from 2011 to 2015, was very pleased with his portrait by Leslie Adams.

“Oh, it’s beautiful. It’s just beautiful. As a matter of fact, I don’t look that good.”

photo of empty desk
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Next year’s graduating high school seniors 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.

photo of Gov. Kasich rainy day funds
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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.

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