Rhonda Fanning | KERA News

Rhonda Fanning

Rhonda is the newest member of the KUT News team, joining in late 2013 as producer for KUT's new daily news program, The Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?”  She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio. 

From Texas Standard:

"Dead on arrival" is how Texas senior senator, Republican John Cornyn, characterized the formal budget plan unveiled by President Trump. It puts 66 programs on the chopping block, and includes a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, a 30 percent cut for the State Department and 20 percent from the Department of Agriculture.

From Texas Standard:

The 2011 Texas voter ID law was one of the strictest such laws in the nation. It required Texans to show one of seven approved forms of photo identification to vote.

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments Monday in Seattle on whether President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban is a form of religious discrimination. The revised order limits travel from six, instead of seven Middle Eastern countries. Iraq is no longer included on the list thanks to the efforts of Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the former inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

From Texas Standard:

With the legislative session set to end on May 29, time is running out to pass a state budget, and resolve the avalanche of other bills that are still moving between chambers of the Legislature. And then there are the governor's priority items, some of which are still stuck, because lawmakers can't agree how to pay for them.

From Texas Standard:

The firing of FBI Director James Comey is not just a matter of domestic politics. For a look at how it could affect foreign policy, Texas Standard host David Brown turns to Jeremi Suri – the chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

From Texas Standard:

May 9, 2017, the day President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, may go down in history the way Oct. 20, 1973, has. That 1973 date is better known as the “Saturday Night Massacre” – when President Nixon’s attorney general and deputy attorney general resigned. For reaction to Comey's ouster, Texas Standard host David Brown turns to a Texas Democrat and a Texas Republican in Congress.

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law Sunday. It was expected that the measure regulating so-called "sanctuary jurisdictions" would prompt lawsuits. But it surprised many that the first to file a suit was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

From Texas Standard:

If people feel like their votes don't count – three pivotal elections across the state seem to prove otherwise.

From Texas Standard:

As the Texas House works to balance the state's budget, some lawmakers are attempting to abolish a tax – a source of revenue whose loss others fear could jeopardize public education to the tune of untold billions. Earlier in the legislative session, the Senate voted to eliminate the franchise tax – a tax on businesses that's based on gross receipts. The franchise tax brings in $8 billion, during each two year budget cycle. A large chunk of that revenue pays for public schools.

From Texas Standard:

Even as President Donald Trump and the news media mark the 100th day of his administration, the thoughts of those keeping up with politics are already turning to the 2018 midterm elections.

From Texas Standard:

Tuesday was a late night for political junkies, and residents of Georgia's 6th Congressional District, who were voting to decide on a new member of Congress. CNN called the race just after midnight. There will be a June runoff between Democrat Jon Ossoff – who won just under 50 percent of the vote – and Republican Karen Handel. The special election had pitted Ossoff against 11 Republicans.

From Texas Standard:

As the legislative session heads into its final six weeks, lawmakers have a lot left to do. They face the task of reconciling budgets passed by the House and Senate into a single document. They must act on the governor’s emergency agenda items. And they’ll need to decide the fate of the more than 6,000 bills filed during the session.

From Texas Standard:

It’s one day after United States Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) assured residents of Denton that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is not dead.

Cruz joined Host David Brown to talk about foreign affairs, repealing Obamacare and this year’s race for the Senate.

From Texas Standard:

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick entered the current legislative session with a long list of priorities, and a conservative wind at his back. But despite these advantages, Patrick is unlikely to get what he wants. And that’s largely because of fellow Republican and House Speaker Joe Straus.

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base, Thursday raises a number of questions about President Donald Trump’s true intentions in the region. Trump announced that the strike was in retaliation for Syria’s chemical weapons attack on a town in the northern part of the country, earlier in the week. But after six years of war, 300,000 dead, 5 million refugees and now 59 cruise missiles, fired 100 years to the day after the U.S. entered the war in which chemical weapons were first used, many are asking what will happen next?

From Texas Standard:

Tuesday, Syria launched a chemical gas attack on a northern area held by rebels. Pope Francis has called the attack an “unacceptable massacre,” according to the New York Times. And an unnamed state department official has called it a war crime.

From Texas Standard:

Congressman Ted Poe (R-Humble) surprised observers last week when he announced he would leave the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers whose opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) put them at odds with President Donald Trump and House leadership.

From Texas Standard:

Debates over the budget, the bathroom bils and sanctuary cities are getting national attention, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus get a lot of the headlines. But what about Governor Greg Abbott? Why has he been so quiet?

From Texas Standard:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has drawn his first election challenger. Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso announced his intention to run for the Democratic Senate nomination in 2018, after which he would likely face Cruz in the general election. O’Rourke spent the weekend holding rallies around the state to announce his candidacy.

From Texas Standard:

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously criticized NAFTA as the “worst trade deal ever signed in this country.” President Trump is now taking a somewhat softer line on NAFTA. A draft letter from the White House emerged this week that indicates the administration wants to re-negotiate the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, leaving some provisions in place, while seeking changes to others. The document contains few details, but it does indicate that the president would like the ability to impose tariffs on some imported products. Re-opening NAFTA negotiations would require Congressional approval.

From Texas Standard:

It's possible another billionaire who speaks his mind, is no stranger to TV, and has ideas about running the country could be the next President of the United States. Texas Monthly's Skip Hollandsworth poses the question in an article about Texan Mark Cuban, "Cuban Revolution".

From Texas Standard:

Reform of the Texas foster care system has been an elusive goal for state lawmakers. A federal judge ruled the system unconstitutional and "broken" two years ago. One proposal that has received support in the current legislative session would have the state contract with religious organizations and other non-profits to provide care for foster children. But the idea has received pushback from some of the religious groups themselves.

 

From Texas Standard:

A House vote on the American Health Care Act – the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare – is slated for Thursday. But some conservatives are wary – they worry the bill will leave too many people uninsured. Others say it doesn't go far enough in repealing the original law.

 

From Texas Standard:

After less then two months in office, the Trump administration can point to at least one statistic that may indicate the president is succeeding in his goal of stemming the tide immigration. From January to February, apprehensions at the Mexican border with the U.S. decreased by 40 percent.

From Texas Standard:

The greatly anticipated Republican legislation to alter the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health care law better known as Obamacare, has finally been revealed.

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump said in a meeting Tuesday that he would “destroy” the career of a Texas state senator who was pushing for legislation to change current civil asset forfeiture laws in the state.

Trump was meeting with sheriffs from around the country when Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson commented that an unnamed senator was seeking to require a person to be convicted of a crime before the state could seize any of their assets.

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel for 90 days from seven Muslim-majority countries on Jan. 27. The word came late that Friday, sparking confusion among travelers, visa holders, airlines and government officials. Questions arose over who exactly was affected and how the ban would be implemented.

But before those issues can be fully worked out, a legal battle over the executive order is adding to all the confusion. Trump’s executive order is temporarily blocked nationwide as of this past Friday, Feb. 3.

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