Rhonda Fanning

Producer, The Texas Standard

Rhonda  joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, 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. 

Image via Flickr/That Other Paper (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

If you've ever been to a courthouse, you've likely had to step through a metal detector: no weapons allowed. But in city halls, which often host court proceedings, whether weapons are allowed is still questionable.

Image via Flickr/CPOA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A funny thing happened on the way to the U.S. House passing a bill called the “Safe Act” yesterday. Inspired by concerns after the Paris Attacks, this bill would extend background checks on refugees from Syria and put up major obstacles to the President’s plan to admit 10,000 refugees before he leaves office.

Congressman Henry Cuellar was one of 47 Democrats to OK the legislation, five of those Democrats from Texas. That helped lead the House to a majority to override President Obama’s promised veto.


Image via Wikimedia Commons/Mstyslav Chernov (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

In the aftermath of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, two terrorist suspects were killed – including one woman who activated a suicide belt – and seven more suspects are being held by French officials as a result of a raid this morning in a suburb north of Paris.

Image via Flickr/Ricardo S. Nava (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson last August, the reputation and trust afforded to police officers nationwide has been questioned. Smartphone videos and body cameras have changed everything.

Despite the perception of an increase in complaints about the use of police force, the Dallas Police Department claims a dramatic drop in the number of complaints.


Image via Flickr/LBJ Foundation, Photo by Lauren Gerson (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

France is in its second day of bombing ISIS targets after last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. The country is targeting the group’s stronghold in Raqqua. Tuesday, Russia declared a downed passenger jet in Egypt the work of ISIS, due to what Vladimir Putin said was a homegrown bomb. The Russian government issued a $50 million reward for more information on who's behind the attack, and launched cruise missile strikes on the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Idlib.

Image via Flickr/Jason Farrar (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Dallas-based Securus Technologies is one of the leading providers of phone services inside prisons across the nation. And now they could be responsible for what's being reported as possibly "the most massive breach of the attorney-client privilege in modern U.S. history."

Investigative website The Intercept is reporting the breach involves records from prisoner phone calls in 37 states, including Texas. The records were leaked by an anonymous hacker on the Intercept's secure and anonymous contact site SecureDrop.


Image via Flickr/House GOP (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Last week, Texas Rep. Kevin Brady won over the chairmanship of one of the most powerful groups of congressional lawmakers, the House Ways and Means Committee.

Image via Flickr/The White House (U.S. Government Works)

From Texas Standard:

Following another legal setback to President Barack Obama's immigration executive action, the Justice Department says it plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lawsuit.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Larry D. Williams (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year, when Texas' 84th Legislative Session was just shifting into gear, Gov. Greg Abbott was urging sweeping ethics reform. He characterized government transparency as the most important commodity to bolster the bond of trust between lawmakers and the people. Despite the promises, not much changed last session.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Center for Public Integrity released a new scorecard for what it's calling "state integrity." Out of all 50 states tested, Texas didn't do so well. The Lone Star state got a "D-" grade, putting us as number 38 on their public integrity meter.

Image via Flickr/Juan Alvarez (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year Pastor Gonzalez Sosa was pulled over for speeding in Caldwell County. Dash-cam audio from that traffic stop indicates both drivers spoke in Spanish during the stop.

Sosa was issued a citation, but his race was recorded as white.


Image via Flickr/Beth Cortez-Neavel (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas legislature meets for 140 days every two years, but lawmakers are already starting to get to work. In 14 months, the 85th legislative session begins. Both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Joe Straus have given legislators some homework before the start of the session. These interim charges suggest in-depth studies of what top state officials think are the most important issues for the next legislative session.

Image via Wikimedia/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott warned Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez that he’d “no longer tolerate” Texas sheriff offices that don’t comply with federal immigration authorities on detainer requests. Yesterday Abbott made good on his threat: he says the state will withhold grant funding from any counties that refuse to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Valdez has caught flak for saying she would begin making case-by-case decisions on whether to honor ICE requests for detainment. The requests ask county jails to hold undocumented immigrants with criminal records for up to 48 hours longer than their set release time so officials can take them into custody.


Image via Flickr/Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The longest state constitution in the nation is about to get longer. Texan voters passed all seven proposed amendments to the constitution.

One amendment aims to fix a problem most all Texans are familiar with: transportation. The state's growing population might be good for the economy, but hasn't done the roadways many favors.

Image via Flickr/jamelah e. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Tuesday, Nov. 3 is voting day. The good news: according to preliminary numbers, more Texans are voting in this off-year than have voted in nearly a decade. The bad news: seven constitutional amendments, that will affect everyone, may still be decided by six out of every 100 Texans.

Texans have until 7 p.m. to vote. If you didn't already cast your ballot during early voting, we have a crash course for you in the proposed amendments. KUT Austin political reporter Ben Philpott has the details.

Image via Flickr/Bullion Vault (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year, Texas made headlines when they passed a bill that would move $1 billion of gold bullion being stored in New York to Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement upon signing the bill into law, saying that Texas would work to store the gold into a secure facility. 

In it, Abbott said the Texas Bullion Depository, the "first state-level facility of its kind in the nation,” will keep taxpayer funds from leaving the state through fees for storing gold outside our borders and increase "the security and stability of our gold reserves.”


Image via Flickr/SmartSign (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Municipal elections in presidential off-years usually don't attract too much attention. But the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) is the exception to that rule.

Proposition 1 on Houston voters' ballots, HERO, derisively known as the "bathroom ordinance," is getting a lot of national attention.


Image via Pixabay/tookapic (CC0 Public Domain)

From Texas Standard: 

The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer announced yesterday that processed meats are "carcinogenic to humans," meaning their consumption can cause cancer.

Image via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

This summer, a 32-year-old San Francisco woman was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant who had previous run-ins with law enforcement. The shooter had been released from a local jail, despite a detention request by immigration officials.

Image via Flickr/Allan Foster (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Back in July, Texas and Arizona were caught illegally importing a lethal injection drug compound as the product was passing through an airport in Houston. The federal Food and Drug Administration, responsible for food and drug regulation in the United States, has said in the past that importing the drug is illegal.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice told the Dallas Morning News that the department had a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration saying the state could import the drug.


Image credit Sarah Montgomery/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this week, as the state of Texas moved to kick Planned Parenthood out of the Medicaid program, Gov. Greg Abbott hinted there might be more to come.