Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.

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An attorney who once sued Troy Kelley says the Washington State Auditor has known about a federal probe into his past for nearly two years.

In an all-staff email Friday, embattled Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley seemed to suggest he’s not planning to step down or even take a leave of absence.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley was not in the office Wednesday. His staff say they don’t know when the Democrat will be back.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley said he is "puzzled" by the federal government's investigation of a real estate escrow and title business Kelley closed before he took office in 2013.

The federal probe involving Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is casting a wide net.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is facing increased pressure to publicly address an apparent federal investigation into his activities.

The Washington state Auditor’s office says it’s turned over documents to the Department of Justice in response to a subpoena.

Monday morning in Tacoma Troy Kelley's neighbors heard a knock on the Washington state auditor's door. Agents of the U.S. Treasury Department announced themselves, entered through the front door and searched his home for about five hours. Kelley's office submitted documents in response to a federal subpoena Thursday.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has accused a mobile home park owner of a scheme to evade inspections.

Sunday marks one year since a deadly landslide near Oso, Washington, killed 43 people.

A cast of characters from Washington’s TV and film industry descended on Olympia Tuesday seeking an expanded tax credit for the film industry.

Washington lawmakers have approved a flurry of bills -- and killed a bunch too -- as they crossed a key deadline in the 105-day session.

Freedom could be just weeks away for the youngest person in the U.S. sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Mental health is one of the top issues in the Washington legislature this year. Several measures cleared the Washington House Monday in advance of a Wednesday cut-off deadline.

Washington lawmakers face some long workdays as they try to beat the cut-off to move bills to out of their chamber of origin. Bills that don’t move on die.

Democrats in the Washington state House have passed a $12 per hour minimum wage measure. The increase would phase-in over four years.

Nationally, there’s a push to outlaw incarceration of students for skipping school and other non-criminal behavior and use alternatives.

But some judges are reluctant to give detention up.

School districts in Washington are required to file a truancy petition with juvenile court when a student is chronically absent. Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge David Edwards believes detention is one way to get a kid who’s not following court orders back on track.

'I think you need a tune-up'

Washington state Senator Jim Honeyford of Yakima has apologized after using the term “colored” to refer to people of color.

The first time a judge sent Marquise-Unique Travon Flynn to juvenile detention he was in fifth grade. He had one goal: not to cry in front of the other kids in the courtroom.

For the first time, the Washington state Senate has passed a version of “Joel’s Law.”

Skipping school is not a crime in Washington state, but it can still land a student behind bars.

Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons


Washington lawmakers are approaching the halfway mark of their 105-day session. Hot issues include marijuana, mental health, oil trains and cap-and-trade.

But the heavy lift for lawmakers will be writing a new two-year operating budget that increases funding for public schools. Both House Democrats and Senate Republicans will unveil dueling budget proposals in the weeks ahead.

Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons


Washington lawmakers are in contempt of court over school funding. But it’s a couple of non-funding issues that could create a partisan rift.

Republicans are back this year with two controversial school reform measures. One would require teacher layoffs to be based on performance, not seniority. The other would make student performance on a statewide standardized test part of a teacher’s annual evaluation.

Austin Jenkins


The case of an infant who nearly died from severe abuse has captured the attention of Washington lawmakers. The child’s adoptive parents testified Tuesday in favor a proposed law named in their son’s honor.

“Aiden’s Law” would require Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services to conduct a formal review in near-fatal child abuse and neglect cases.

Colin Fogarty


Washington lawmakers are considering whether to beef up oversight of the party bus industry. At a public hearing Monday, the head of the state agency that regulates in-state bus lines said it’s a matter of safety.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo


A bipartisan group of Washington state senators is backing an 11.7 cent gas tax increase over three years.

The 16-year proposal was rolled out late Thursday at the Capitol. The higher gas tax would help fund a multi-billion dollar roads and transit package.

Austin Jenkins


Washington is under court order to keep foster youth from running away. So the state now has a team of “locators," social workers whose job it is to find runaways and bring them back.

Mike Stamp is one of these locators.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Three Washington state senators received a boost in their per diem last month, despite previously saying they wouldn’t take a raise in their daily allowance.

In March 2014, a Washington Senate committee narrowly voted to increase the reimbursement senators get when they’re in session to $120 a day, a $30 increase.

Austin Jenkins


Audio Pending...

Rural Thurston County in Washington is the kind of place people move to for a little elbow room. But if you’re a teenager from the suburbs, life can be less than exciting.

The day 19-year-old Amber Armstrong arrived at her foster home five years ago, she starting plotting her escape.

Keenen Brown / Flickr


Washington lawmakers are considering whether to exempt amateur athletes from state labor laws.

The move comes as Washington’s four Western Hockey League teams remain under investigation for possible child labor violations.