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:

On Monday, Russia threatened to shoot down any coalition jets flying west of the Euphrates river, after the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane over the weekend. Russia is also suspending its use of the hotline between the U.S. and Russia that was set up to prevent accidents in the Syrian combat zone. The U.S. has also suspended talks with Russia over resolution of the Syrian conflict.

 

From Texas Standard:

Weather watchers are tracking ominous activity in the Gulf of Mexico. An Air Force Reserve helicopter is on standby, ready to fly to a spot off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where a storm system is building steam.

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 50 bills Thursday – the largest number of bills vetoed by a governor since 2007.

From Texas Standard:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler released a letter yesterday addressed to “All Good People in the World” following two U.S. Senators’ call for South by Southwest to relocate their annual festival out of Texas until Senate Bill 4 is repealed or overturned by the courts.

From Texas Standard:

Seven countries severed ties with Qatar on Monday. Not only did Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yemen, Libya and the Maldives suspend diplomatic relations with the Gulf state, they also cut off land, air and sea travel to and from Qatar. They also ordered their citizens to leave Qatar.

From Texas Standard:

Texas has more than 150 state agencies -- everything from the Affordable Housing Corporation to the Workforce Commission. Do these agencies provide too much oversight and bureaucracy? That's what the Sunset Commission is tasked with finding out. A group of lawmakers from the Texas House and Senate, along with two members of the public, do periodic reviews to make sure state agencies are needed and that they're operating as they should.

From Texas Standard:

It won’t be the budget that sends the Texas Legislature into a special session, if there is one. This weekend the two chambers approved a $217 billion, two-year budget.

From Texas Standard:

Every odd numbered year, for 140 days, Texas lawmakers meet in the Austin to participate in the political drama that is a legislative session. Each legislator tries to cram as many bills onto the floor as possible in an effort to maybe, just maybe, help it to become law. While the curtains on this year's drama are soon set to drop and all the political actors are making plans to head back to their part of Texas, a potential encore performance may be looming. We're talking about a possible special legislative session.

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:

Around the world, people are sharing expressions of outrage, concern and solidarity with the people of Manchester, England.

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:

Some Texas Democrats in Washington are suggesting a Trump impeachment. U.S. Rep. Al Green of Houston was the first to call for the president's impeachment on Monday. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, also of Houston, and U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville have said it is a possibility.

From Texas Standard:

You may not have known him, but many thousands have relied on his reports for decades, covering drug cartels and organized crime. Award-winning reporter Javier Valdez was gunned down in the middle of the day in Sinaloa, Mexico, becoming at least the sixth journalist killed in that country since March.

From Texas Standard:

Officials with the State Department say the Syrian government has constructed, and is using a crematorium at a military prison. Just a few hours later, the Washington Post broke the news that President Donald Trump revealed classified information when he met with Russian officials last week in the Oval Office.

From Texas Standard:

The talk of Washington is still centered on the news from last week that President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump cited Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails as the reason for his dismissal, but others are worried that the firing may have had something to do with the agency's investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign, during the election.

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:

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) – a Republican response to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare – was hastily passed by the U.S. House Thursday, when votes reached a critical tipping point. To become law, the AHCA must still get enough votes in the Senate.

From Texas Standard:

On Saturday, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards went to a party near Balch Springs, Texas. He didn’t make it home that night. Officer Roy Oliver of the Balch Springs Police Department was responding to the sound of gunshots at the party when he opened fire on a car, killing Edwards, who was a passenger.

The officer reported that the vehicle was moving toward him aggressively. Now the police department says video evidence contradicts the initial report.

From Texas Standard:

The Texas House of Representatives is set to consider a bill Wednesday that would make it mandatory for public high school students to pass the civics test that immigrants must take to become U.S. citizens. If House Bill 1776 passes, end-of-course assessments for U.S. history classes in public high schools would also be eliminated.

From Texas Standard:

Monday afternoon, Kendrex J. White, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Texas, allegedly stabbed and killed Harrison Brown and wounded three others. So far there is no known motive.

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:

A federal judge in California on Tuesday froze President Donald Trump’s executive order that would withhold funds from “sanctuary cities” across the nation. So far, the base definition of such an area includes jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with immigration detention orders.

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:

Many have expressed concern and outrage over the way police treat citizens, especially African-Americans and other minorities. The Black Lives Matter movement began in response to the deaths of African-Americans in police custody, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the arrest of Sandra Bland, who was later found dead in a Waller County jail, an apparent suicide.

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