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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Schools shooters often threaten violence before they act. But according to an FBI guide to school shootings, students who hear these threats rarely tell an adult.

A delegation from a tiny eastern Washington farm town is rallying to protect a walking, biking and horse riding trail that spans the state. They trekked to the Capitol to make their case.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said he’s “undaunted” after a partisan dust up over school funding. The Democrat Thursday sounded a hopeful note that lawmakers will find common ground.

Washington prison officials have said a computer programming error led to the accidental early release of more than 3,000 inmates over 13 years. Documents obtained by public radio reveal that a decade ago sentencing calculation errors plagued a major IT upgrade.

Allowing transgender people access to the restroom or locker room of their choice stirs strong feelings. Advocates on both sides of that debate packed a hearing room in Olympia Wednesday.

The Washington Department of Corrections has finished re-calculating the sentences of 1,500 inmates who were potentially released early since 2011. Of those, more than 100 must return to prison to finish their sentences.

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen has removed state Senator Pam Roach from a task force on human trafficking. Owen said Monday he took the action after receiving several complaints about the senator’s conduct at a December meeting of the task force.

Working in a prison is a dangerous job. Inmates outnumber officers and fights are common. Fourteen-year veteran correctional officer Patrick McPherson said over the course of his career he’s been assaulted four or five times.

The Washington House has pledged to take action next year to end the reliance on local levies to fund schools. The vote Monday also directs the 2017 legislature to fully fund competitive salaries and benefits for teachers and staff.

Is the tax on legal marijuana in Washington too high?

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will formally acknowledge Friday that it violated the constitutional rights of two brothers who commercially fished the Columbia River.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Washington Supreme Court will likely decide the fate of a voter-approved tax-limiting measure. A judge in King County ruled Thursday that Initiative 1366, approved in November, is unconstitutional.

The next step is an appeal. The Attorney General’s office is required to defend initiatives approved by the public. As a result, it will appeal the lower court ruling to the state Supreme Court and likely ask for expedited review.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is renewing his push to raise the smoking and vaping age to 21. The Democrat announced the bipartisan effort Wednesday at a Capitol news conference.

The political showdown over the accidental release of more than 3,000 Washington inmates continues. Senate Republicans moved quickly Tuesday to approve two subpoenas seeking records from the governor’s office and the Department of Corrections.

The March trial of indicted Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley could take four to six weeks. That’s according to proposed jury questionnaires filed with the federal court.

Washington’s state ethics board has dismissed complaints against several current and former officials at the state Department of Commerce. Three of those former staffers now work for clean energy start-up companies that are benefiting from a state grant program.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is defending his investigation of the accidental early release of more than 3,000 prison inmates. The Democrat responded Thursday after Republican state senators announced they plan to use their subpoena power to conduct their own inquiry.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has issued an emergency order to stop the tunneling project along Seattle’s downtown waterfront. The tunnel will replace the aging Highway 99 viaduct.

For the third time in less than a year, a Washington state employee has been accused of having sex with a juvenile offender. The most recent arrest happened this week at a state juvenile lock-up in Chehalis.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee used his State of the State speech to pledge accountability when government fails. The Democrat’s comments Tuesday follow the early release of more than 3,000 prison inmates because of a computer coding error.

Six Northwest state lawmakers made a weekend visit to Burns, Oregon, the site of an armed occupation by opponents of federal land policies.

It’s a new year, but the saga continues. The state of Washington has missed a deadline to provide competency services to jail inmates within seven days. And in some cases wait times are getting worse not better.

Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke faced questions from state lawmakers Monday as the 2016 legislative session convened. The head of Washington’s prison system called the accidental early release of more than 3,000 inmates the “largest single error” in his agency’s history.

Washington voters could decide in November on a combined minimum wage and sick leave measure . A union-backed campaign calling itself “Raise Up Washington” filed an initiative Monday to raise the state’s base wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020.

A Washington prison inmate who was accidentally released early and then locked back up has been granted a rare medical furlough. Bobby Davis said his re-release from prison this week came as a welcome surprise.

Washington lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for a short election-year session. They say getting bipartisan agreement on a school funding plan is a top priority.

According to the latest non-partisan Elway Poll released Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee leads his top Republican challenger by nine points. Pollster Stuart Elway said a nine point race at this early stage seems like a tight race.

A member of the Washington National Guard has emerged as a vocal supporter of the armed occupiers in eastern Oregon.

Staff Sgt. Maureen Peltier has served in the Guard since 2000. She even deployed to Iraq. But over the years she says she’s come to believe that corruption and a toxic environment exists in many parts of the U.S. government. Thus her interest in what she calls the patriot movement.

“I’ve been watching the patriot movement quietly for years while serving,” Peltier said.

Elaine Thompson / AP

As many as 3,200 Washington inmates were released early because of a computer glitch that went unfixed for 13 years.  break

Gov. Jay Inslee made that announcement at a news conference Tuesday during which he vowed to "fix this, fix it fast, and fix it right.”

Heavy rains in the lowlands and heavy snow in the mountains are making holiday travel tricky.

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