Rhonda Fanning | KUOW News and Information

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:

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:

The Texas Legislature’s two houses have about nine weeks to approve a balanced two-year budget. But disagreement over accounting “gimmickry” is dividing lawmakers in the House and Senate. The Senate finance committee approved a $107 billion budget, but House Speaker Joe Straus says that the senators relied on questionable accounting practices to avoid tapping into the state’s rainy day fund, a savings account funded mainly by oil and gas tax revenue.

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:

With flights to Washington D.C. canceled because of a blizzard, Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd – both members of Congress from Texas – needed a way to get back to the nation’s capital. So they rented a car and set out, taking Facebook viewers along for the ride.

From Texas Standard:

For victims of sexual assault, collecting and testing a rape kit can mean the difference between solving a crime and allowing a perpetrator go free. In Texas, as in other states, rape kits are often collected but never tested because funds are not available. One lawmaker wants to give citizens the opportunity to contribute to a solution.

From Texas Standard:

When the Texas Legislature passed the Woman’s Right to Know Act, abortion rights advocates decried what they saw as a paternalistic attitude on the part of majority-male sponsors of the law. The law requires patients seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours before the procedure and to be informed of potential medical risks. It also tightly regulates where abortions can be performed. 

This session, at least one legislator has decided to fight fire with ... irony?

From Texas Standard:

Enforcing laws that make possession of small amounts of marijuana a criminal offense are costing taxpayers a lot of money, with little benefit in return. That’s the argument made by State Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs). The bill he co-sponsored with Democrat Joe Moody of El Paso would reduce penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a $250 civil fine.

 

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:

Early Monday morning, in the country’s latest display of aggression toward the West, North Korea fired four intermediate range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. Three missiles landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, leading Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to call North Korea’s actions a clear violation of several UN Security Council resolutions.

From Texas Standard:

Both houses of the Texas Legislature have unanimously approved an overhaul of how the state cares for its most vulnerable kids. It's a sign they're moving quickly to address what a federal judge deemed a "broken" foster care system.

From Texas Standard:

In an unprecedented case, a federal judge ruled Monday that a private prison company can be sued under federal laws prohibiting what amounts to slave labor.

 

From Texas Standard:

State lawmakers have less money to spend this Legislative session and are in the tough position of having to make cuts to state agencies and public universities. Many lawmakers have blamed the budget shortfall on low oil and gas prices.


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.

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