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Karen Kasler (Ohio Public Radio)

Karen Kasler is a lifelong Ohioan with a passion for broadcast reporting. She left her hometown of Lancaster for Otterbein College. As News Director at WCBE in Columbus in the 90s, she covered a variety of events, including the local impact of the Gulf War, the financial problems of the Columbus Public Schools and the trouble-ridden Ameriflora exhibition in 1992.

Karen was selected as a Fellow in the Kiplinger Master's Program for Mid-Career Journalists at The Ohio State University in 1994. After a brief stint at WBNS-TV in Columbus, she moved to Cleveland and became the afternoon drive anchor and assignment editor for WTAM-AM. 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, the "Coingate" scandal and the resignation of former Attorney General Marc Dann. She's also produced features on "green" business, STEM education, campaign ads, the elimination of the state's anti-smoking agency and a demolition derby involving farm equipment.

Each year she anchors the Bureau's live coverage of the governor's State of the State. She was a panelist for the gubernatorial and the US Senate debates in 2006 and the Attorney General's race in 2008, and has also been interviewed by NPR, by the BBC and by Brian Williams for NBC's "Nightly News".

Karen has 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 was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for hosting "The State of Ohio". She's currently the president-elect of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters.

Karen joined the Bureau in March 2004. She’s reported for NPR, Marketplace and the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, and is a frequent guest on ONN’s “Capitol Square” , WVIZ’s “Ideas” and WOSU-TV’s “Columbus on the Record”.

Karen is also an adjunct professor at Capital University in Columbus. Karen, her husband and their son Jack live on Columbus' northeast side.

Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

4,854 people died of accidental drug overdoses in Ohio last year, according to official stats from the Ohio Department of Health. That’s more than 13 people a day, and a 20 percent increase over 2016. But, Gov. John Kasich says there is still some good news in those numbers.

Bianca Edwards speaks at a press conference regarding AT&T’s request to drop out of the Lifeline program, as Tom Roberts, the Ohio Conference NAACP president, looks on
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Groups representing low-income people are calling on state regulators to reject AT&T’s plan to drop out of a federal program that helps over 10,000 of its Ohio customers afford telephone service. 

The NAACP, the Ohio Poverty Law Center, and the Alliance for Retired Americans are among those defending the Lifeline program, which offers a credit that covers a quarter of the $36 average monthly cost of a landline telephone.

Ohio Education Policy Institute

A report commissioned by Ohio’s three major public school groups shows that state funding for K-12 education hasn’t bridged the gap between rich and poor districts, and hasn't kept pace with inflation.

It’s the first comprehensive look at state and local aid for schools since a landmark Ohio Supreme Court ruling declaring the property tax based funding system unconstitutional.

green prescription sign in pharmacy window
Ben W. / Flickr Creative Commons

Ohio Medicaid is telling its five managed care plans to sever their contracts with two pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), and to work up new deals by the beginning of the year.

In a letter to the managed care plans, Ohio Medicaid director Barbara Sears says they must stop working with CVS Caremark and Optum, which are using a “spread pricing” model.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Credit Lewis Wallace / WYSO / WYSO

For the first time, the Republican candidate for governor is stating clearly that he would keep Medicaid expansion for all 700,000 Ohioans covered under it. Mike DeWine says he’s been supportive all along, but his opponent says that’s not true.

While accepting the endorsement of the Ohio State Medical Association, DeWine said he’d keep Medicaid expansion but that he’d reform it, including adding work requirements and wellness incentive programs.

“Look, there’s no change. What we have said is, all along, is that it had to be reformed,” DeWine said.

John Husted stands at a podium at a 2016 event
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

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

Ohio can continue its two-step process of sending mailings after two years of voter inactivity and after four years, removal of registrations from those who don’t respond to mailings and also don’t vote. Democratic Secretary of State candidate Rep. Kathleen Clyde says she’d put an end to that, but Husted says the office is required by law to run the process. 

Speaker Cliff Rosenberger of southwest Ohio says there's support for medical marijuana.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

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.

Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) announced his resignation at the Tuesday evening meeting of the House Republican caucus. He issued a statement that his actions have been ethical and lawful, but that the inquiry will likely take a long time and there are issues that lawmakers need to attend to.

Office of Governor John Kasich

Gov. John Kasich has appeared to have changed his views on gun regulations, after years of saying he was a strong Second Amendment supporter on the rare occasions that he talked about it at all.

In an interview with CNN, Kasich called on President Trump to “take some steps” on gun control, because he said he had no confidence in a dysfunctional Congress to address the issue. And because of that, Kasich said it needs to be dealt with at the state and local level.

“That’s where you need to put the pressure and call these people out,” Kasich said.

Karen Kasler

It’ll be a while before the state puts out new official numbers on Ohio’s deadly opioid crisis. However, the federal Centers for Disease Control says it has new stats that show the epidemic is nowhere close to slowing down.

The CDC says the number of deadly overdoses in Ohio soared 39 percent from July of 2016 to last July. That’s more than twice as much as the national increase in deadly overdoses in that same period.

Zack McCarthy / Flickr

Ohio is the only Midwestern state that’s had a sales tax holiday for the last three years. And now the Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would guarantee it would be an annual event.

The sales tax holiday for school items up to $20 and clothing up to $75 has been scheduled in early August since 2015. Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Columbus) sponsored the permanent holiday, so lawmakers don’t have to keep passing bills to create it.

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