Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Austin Jenkins, KPLU’s and N3’s Olympia Reporter, has been covering the Washington State Legislature and regional public policy issues since 2004. Prior to becoming a public radio reporter, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise – to name just a few of his stops. Austin grew up in Seattle and is a graduate of Connecticut College. Austin’s memorable moment in public radio: “There are too many to pick just one: Covering Washington’s contested 2004 gubernatorial election, flying in an Army Reserve Chinook helicopter to the top of Mt. Rainier, spending 24-hours on a tug boat on the Snake River, the list goes on.”  You can also track all the current events at Washinton's capitol on Austin's blog, The Washington Ledge.

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Colin Fogarty

 

Paid sick leave and a boost in the minimum wage are among the top priorities of organized labor in Washington state this year.

Democrats in the legislature have embraced both ideas. But Republicans and business interests remain wary. Adding to the politics is the fact Seattle has already adopted these policies.

Fanduel.com

 

On the eve of the Super Bowl, Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to legalize fantasy sports contests.

This is where sports fans build an imaginary team based on the stats of real players. They then compete in a league with other participants.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

Nearly two years after public radio and the Associated Press investigated lobbyist-paid meals for Washington lawmakers, the issue is still a topic of discussion in the legislature.

A Senate panel Thursday took testimony on two proposals related to gifts of food and beverage.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

 

Gas prices have plummeted, but Washington’s gas tax could soon go up.

Republican Curtis King, the chair of the Senate Transportation committee, is looking at an 11.5-cent per gallon increase phased in over three years. It would help fund a $14 billion transportation package with projects on both sides of the Cascades.

Austin Jenkins

 

Public utility districts in Washington have the right to place power lines through state trust lands, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

This ends a years-long legal fight between Washington’s elected lands commissioner and the Okanogan PUD.

Robert Pittman / Flickr

 

SeaWorld is famous for its choreographed dolphin and Orca whale performances. Now a Washington state lawmaker wants to make sure what happens at SeaWorld stays at SeaWorld.

Washington state Sen. Kevin Ranker introduced legislation to prohibit marine mammal shows in Washington.

Intel Free Press / Flickr

 

It’s long been against the law to text and drive in Washington, but the rules would get much stricter under a proposal introduced Wednesday in the legislature.

The sponsors believe it’s time to update state law to keep up with technology. 

Brianhe / Wikimedia Commons

 

When police are called to a report of domestic abuse, often someone goes to jail.

In Washington state, the mandatory arrest law applies to suspects 16 and older when the officer believes a serious assault has occurred within the last four hours.

A proposal before the Washington legislature would increase the age of mandatory arrest to 18. Police could still arrest 16 and 17-year-olds, but it wouldn’t be required.

At the juvenile detention facility in King County, Washington, strip searches are common practice at intake for serious and violent offenders or those accused of a drug crime.

It’s the end of week two of Washington’s legislative session. Already more than 1,200 bills have been introduced.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will ask the legislature to amend a new voter-approved class size measure. That was the word this week from the governor’s budget director.

Austin Jenkins

 

At a Tuesday news conference, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Washington’s unregulated medical marijuana industry is “unworkable” and “needs to be fixed."

 

Another case of avian flu has been confirmed in birds in Washington state, this time in a backyard flock in Port Angeles. The previous cases were in Whatcom and Benton counties.

Austin Jenkins

 

The Washington House has joined the state Senate in banning openly carried guns in the public viewing galleries.

House leaders made that announcement Monday morning following an incident in the House gallery last week.

Austin Jenkins

 

A Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy has been named “officer of the year” for his actions in the aftermath of the Oso landslide.

Deputy Glen Bergstrom received the honor Friday from the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs.

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