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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Washington Governor Jay Inslee has set his sights on a clean energy future for the state. Since taking office he’s helped convince the legislature to put $75 million into a Clean Energy Fund.

It has taken five years, but low-copper and copper-free brakes are now available in Washington. That’s because of a 2010 law designed to phase out the use of copper and other toxics in brake pads.

Washington’s voter-approved background check law for private gun sales has been in effect for a year. But so far there’ve been no reports of arrests or prosecutions.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will run for re-election in 2016. The first-term Democrat hasn’t made an official announcement yet, but said he would run in an exclusive interview on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program.

Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley says money was “not a factor” in his decision to return to work this week. Kelley had been on unpaid leave of absence for the past seven months pending his federal trial.

Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley suddenly returned to office Tuesday, pending his federal criminal trial in March for money laundering and tax evasion. The first-term Democrat is also under investigation by the state for hiring a former business associate to work in the auditor’s office.

A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers has introduced a resolution to impeach indicted State Auditor Troy Kelley. That announcement Monday follows months of calls for the first-term Democrat to resign after being charged with possession of stolen funds and tax evasion unrelated to his duties in office.

A federal judge in Tacoma Thursday ordered the feds to return to indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley $900,000 it seized in September. The feds maintained that money was “tainted.”

The attorney for indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley aggressively sought to undermine the case against his client during a pretrial hearing in Tacoma.

Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday. He’s fighting to get back nearly $1 million the feds seized in September.

The Washington state Capitol campus could soon be a no-fly-zone for drones. The agency that oversees the 486-acre campus is considering a strict ban.

Federal agents started investigating indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley before he was elected to that office. That’s according to a document prosecutors filed Tuesday in federal court.

The search for a missing bow hunter in central Washington has been temporarily called off because of worsening weather. This follows a rare call out for volunteer searchers to help in the effort.

Washington prison inmates who suffer from “serious and painful medical conditions” are often denied adequate healthcare. That’s the allegation contained in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Seattle this week.

Washington lawmakers are meeting at the state Capitol this week to get ready for the 2016 legislative session. If lawmakers are back in town, that means lobbyists are too. So why squander the moment?

For the first time, prosecutors have obtained a federal Lacey Act conviction for trafficking in poached Northwest maple wood.

September’s deadly Aurora Bridge accident in Seattle and the 2015 fire season are on the agenda as Washington lawmakers return to the Capitol on Thursday and Friday.

Heavy rains have flooded the one road in and out of La Push on the Washington coast. That means the 300-400 residents of the Quileute Indian Reservation are cut off.

The story of Troy Kelley, Washington state’s auditor, is stranger than fiction.

Prosecutors in Washington state want voters to decide in 2016 whether to keep or repeal the death penalty. It’s been 40 years since Washington voters last weighed-in on the death penalty. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says the time has come for voters to have another say on the subject.

Opponents of Initiative 1366, a tax-limiting measure passed by Washington voters on November 3, said they will try to get an injunction to keep the new law from taking effect. That announcement Thursday comes as the Washington Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that allowed the measure to remain on the ballot.

A Washington state senator says he will try again in January to convince his colleagues to ban marine mammal shows. That announcement Monday came as SeaWorld said it will end orca whale performances at its San Diego theme park next year.

Washington is unlikely to meet a January deadline to provide jail inmates with court-ordered mental health services within seven days.

A staffing shortage at Western State Hospital has created a crisis situation. Federal inspectors this week determined that patients and staff face immediate risk for harm.

There’s a surprise newcomer to the campaign for a higher minimum wage in Washington. It’s the state’s restaurant association.

Washington voters appear to have given the thumbs up to another Tim Eyman tax-limiting measure. But the courts could get the final say.

Alcoa’s decision to idle two aluminum plants in Washington comes just months after state lawmakers renewed tax breaks for the company.

The attorney for indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley wants some of the charges against his client dropped. Attorney Angelo Calfo is also petitioning a judge to break apart the criminal indictment into separate trials.

Washington’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island is home to 252 sex offenders. These are men -- and one woman -- who’ve completed their prison sentences but are deemed too dangerous to release.

Mickey Mouse belongs in Disneyland, not on your ballot. Same goes for the Easter Bunny and other funny write-in candidates.

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