Laura Rice

Producer, Morning Edition

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.

Ways to Connect

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

This story is part of the NPR project "A Nation Engaged," which takes a deeper look at economic opportunity in 21st century America. 

DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

The ACLU and ACLU of Texas are getting involved in a lawsuit over a regulation in the Affordable Care Act. In August, Texas filed a lawsuit against federal regulations that prohibit healthcare discrimination against people who are transgender. The lawsuit was announced by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing the Franciscan Alliance. The lawsuit will be heard in Wichita Falls.

The rules state that healthcare entities are not allowed to deny or limit services – including gender transition services – based on race, national origin, sex, age or disability.

 

Audio Pending...

Joe Diaz/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The United States Census Bureau dropped new data this week, as part of the American Community Survey, a yearly estimate of a plethora of different topics concerning American households, including numbers on healthcare, income, and poverty.

 


Screenshot from elucy.org

From Texas Standard:

Until now, Lucy’s death has been a mystery. She’s the famous 3.2-million-year-old fossil scientists say is one of the oldest skeletons of an erect-walking human ancestor. Her bones were discovered in Ethiopia back in 1974 but we didn't know how she died. 


Bill Lile/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Walmart sells everything from guns to grapefruit. But right now, it can't sell liquor – at least not in Texas. The mega-retailer is going to court to change that, but liquor store owners are fighting the effort, alongside the state of Texas.

Some of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's rules preventing Walmart from selling liquor date back to the end of Prohibition. But the big-box store corporation argues the rules amount to unconstitutional discrimination.

 


SaveJeffWood.com

From Texas Standard:

Much has been said of Texas' top rank when it comes to the administration of the death penalty. Notwithstanding the state's record, the state still reserves the ultimate punishment for what most of us would consider the worst of the worst crimes. One man set to die this month in Texas killed a correctional officer while he was behind bars for murder. Another was the trigger man in a murder-for-hire.

But the third man actually didn't kill anyone. Jeff Wood pulled no trigger and had not even planned to commit a crime that morning – and yet, he's scheduled to die later this month.

 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

From Texas Standard:

DallasBaton RougeNiceOrlando. It seems like we can’t go more than a few days without a violent event somewhere in the world. While it’s true these attacks are happening for very different and very complicated reasons – they keep happening. It’s almost hard to remember a time when they didn’t.

But when a shooter took aim at the University of Texas of Austin campus from the top of the UT tower on August 1, 1966,  no one had any reference point for such an attack. The Texas Standard spoke to people who were there that day as part of a documentary that will air Monday.

 


Can Bats Conquer Zika?

Jul 12, 2016
Flickr/mzmo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

You've probably heard bats by the hundreds, flying out of a cave or from under a bridge. But have you heard a bat solo, squeaking to be fed?

"She can chew and talk all at the same time," Dianne Odegard says, talking to the female bat she's feeding. "It’s the middle of the day, you’re not that hungry."


Twitter/NationalPost

From Texas Standard:

Early in the morning on Sunday, June 12 a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 more at an Orlando gay nightclub. The lone shooter used a rifle similar to an AR-15 – a Sig Sauer MCX, which was originally designed for the U.S. Special Operations forces.

The tragic event sparked further outrage over the United States’ current gun control laws, which allow these types of guns to be purchased by the public.

 


Pexels (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

It's been a nasty news cycle, dominated by images from Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, a modern cosmopolitan hub connecting the west to the Middle East. Turkey has worked hard to cultivate an image as a haven in a dangerous region. So even though 41 people were killed and more that 200 injured in yesterday's suicide attacks, the airport has reopened, almost as if making a statement.

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas politicians were quick to send out tweets and press releases reacting to the Supreme Court's decision Monday, ruling 5-3 that a 2013 Texas law restricting abortion procedures placed an “undue burden” on people who seek care. The social media flurry broke down predictably along party lines. 


Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that part of a 2013 Texas law restricting abortion procedures is "unconstitutional."

House Bill 2 required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Each clinic also had to meet the standards of hospital surgical facilities. The law also banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and the abortion pill misoprostol.

The law garnered national attention during former Sen. Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster in June 2013. The ensuing court case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, asked whether these new admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements on abortion providers within the state posed an “undue burden” on women.

 


Jamelah E./Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Within the past 24 hours, there's been an event which the McAllen Monitor is framing as an Edward R. Murrow moment – akin to when the CBS anchorman called out Joseph McCarthy as a bully and a demagogue.

From Texas Standard:

Friday morning the Obama administration issued a directive – what some on the right see as a decree – telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. If schools refuse to allow this, they could be in violation of the Civil Rights act of 1964.

The notice comes in the middle of a heated national debate over bathroom laws in public spaces, but it has no official force of law behind it. It amounts to what the New York Times calls an “implicit threat.”

Attached to the letter that went out to schools across the U.S., was a 25-page booklet of what are called emerging practices, or tips on how to comply.


Flickr/Charles Wagner (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It's here: A long-awaited decision from the Texas Supreme Court on how schools are funded. The plaintiffs are two-thirds of the state's school districts, charter schools and even business interests, all claiming that the Texas way of financing education is so inefficient as to be unconstitutional.

Now the state's highest court has handed down its opinion.

Kate McGee, education reporter for KUT in Austin, says the court ruled the state's school finance system isn't unconstitutional. The court's opinions – three concurring opinions with no dissents – say the system "satisfies minimal requirements," reversing a lower court's decision that the state's school finance is so bad as to be illegal.


Flickr/S Lowe (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

There's something about toll roads that just isn't very fun. It's probably that part where you have to pay to drive on them. Of course, we help pay for the roads we drive on through taxes and other fees – but it's more in your face when you roll through the toll plaza.

At least one Texas lawmaker is urging the state to pump the breaks.


Flickr/AgriLife Today (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

As Texas moves forward with legalizing access to cannabis oil for some epilepsy patients, the state still needs to set up a system for distributing the medicine. Some folks in McKinney are offering up an idea: they want to repurpose a hundred-year-old cotton gin to grow, process and distribute cannabis oil.

Flickr/Visit El Paso (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Fifty years ago, the NCAA men's basketball tournament started with just 22 teams in the first round. When it came down to the championship game: on one side was the all-white Kentucky basketball team, as most college basketball teams were at the time; the challenger was Texas Western, an all-black team from El Paso – the university has since become the University of Texas at El Paso, or UTEP.

Flickr/Carol Martinez (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas takes its food seriously – consider the breakfast taco war between San Antonio and Austin just a few weeks ago.

It's no wonder advertisers are keen to target Texans. Even the behemoth fast food chain McDonald's is trying to get an edge in the Lone Star State. McDonald's is currently baiting Texans to create the first official McDonald's "Texas burger." What is a Texas burger exactly? Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Leslie Brenner gave the burger builder a try, but she said some crucial ingredients were missing.

 


Courtesy "Transpecos"

From Texas Standard:

Every year, South by Southwest features films by and about Texans. Some of that is by design – there's a whole section of the fest designated to short films related to Texas. But other times, it's just that festival curators loved a film that happened to be about Texas.

Pages