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.

Ways to Connect

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.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Umbrellas, strollers and backpacks were already banned from the public viewing galleries in the Washington House and Senate.

Now Senate leaders have added a ban on openly-carried guns. The House may soon follow suit.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new trial for the getaway driver in the 2009 killings of four Lakewood, Washington police officers.

Dorcus Dewayne Allen, who is also known as Darcus Allen, drove Maurice Clemmons to and from the scene of the Thanksgiving weekend shooting at a coffee shop. Allen was charged with four counts of aggravated murder.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

Guns are allowed in the Washington state Capitol, but state law makes it illegal to carry a firearm in a manner designed to intimidate.

That made for some tense moments Thursday in the spectator gallery of the Washington House.

Ayda D / Wikimedia Commons

 

A popular gift now for Chinese New Year is a box of red apples from Washington. But Northwest shippers say a labor dispute at West Coast ports is jeopardizing that lucrative overseas market.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

Washington state is at a crossroads, according to Gov. Jay Inslee.

Those were key themes Tuesday as Inslee delivered his State of the State address before a joint session of the state legislature.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

 

Republicans control the Washington Senate, but Monday’s start of the 2015 session featured a Democratic insurgency.

It happened when Republicans tried to re-elect Sen. Tim Sheldon as president pro tem of the Senate. Sheldon is a Democrat who in 2012 joined with Republicans to help them take control of the Washington Senate.

Austin Jenkins

Gov. Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax to help fund schools and other priorities. But Republicans in the state Senate voted Monday to make it harder to get a tax proposal like that through the legislature.

Apaschen / Wikimedia Commons

 

School funding, a roads-and-transit package and medical marijuana are among the hot topics as the Washington legislature convenes Monday. Lawmakers plan to meet for 105 days.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is defending his call for higher taxes in 2015. The Democrat reacted Thursday to criticism from Republican lawmakers.

Washington Republicans said higher taxes should be a last resort and accused Inslee of making taxes his default position.

Wikimedia Commons

 

Marijuana will be among the top agenda items when the Washington legislature convenes Monday.

Specifically, lawmakers will consider what to do about the state’s unregulated medical marijuana industry.

Elway Research

 

Washington voters would prefer no new taxes and no deep cuts to state services. But if that’s not possible, they’re open to some new taxes.

That’s the finding of a new non-partisan poll from Stuart Elway released Tuesday.

Brianhe / Wikimedia Commons

 

The Washington legislature convenes next Monday for a 105-day session. Transportation funding is one of the top agenda items.

Lawmakers failed to move a roads and transit package last year and pressure continues to build for the legislature to act. But there are also sharp partisan differences.

Wikimedia Commons

 

Voters have legalized recreational marijuana in Washington and Oregon, but police continue to find illegal marijuana grows on public lands.

In fact, Washington authorities report an uptick in plant seizures and arrests this year.

M Glasgow / Flickr

 

Washington’s new voter-approved background check law appears to have prevented the sale of a rifle to a man with a warrant out for his arrest.

It could be the first time the new law was put to the test.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

"It is time to reinvest in Washington," Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday. 

Washington Consolidated Technology Services

 

The state of Washington has good cyber security standards, but state agencies don’t always adhere to those standards, according to the findings of a performance audit released Monday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Several hundred gun rights activists rallied at Washington’s capitol Saturday to protest the new voter-approved law that requires background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers. Most participants in the "I Will Not Comply" rally were openly carrying handguns or rifles or both.

Austin Jenkins

 

The lights are back on for many of those who lost power during the windstorm that walloped western Oregon and Washington Thursday night. But repair crews are still hard at work across the region.

The largest number of outages were in Puget Sound Energy territory. But the utility said the number of customers still without electricity is less than half what it was at the peak overnight.

In Olympia’s South Capitol neighborhood, there was a harrowing moment when a very large, sprawling tree fell across power lines and onto a car, knocking out the power in the residential neighborhood.

Washington Consolidated Technology Services

 

A foil-wrapped secret room is a plausible use for unused portions of Washington’s new data center. That’s according to a national expert on what Time Magazine has dubbed “spy-proof rooms.”

Brianhe / Wikimedia Commons

 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is likely to propose a revenue package that exceeds $1 billion when he unveils his proposed two-year budget next week, according to the governor’s budget director who briefed reporters at the Capitol Tuesday.

Washington Consolidated Technology Services

 

The search is widening for tenants to fill Washington’s overbuilt data center. Efforts to lease the 26,000 square feet of highly-secure warehouse space to the private sector have so far been unsuccessful.

Austin Jenkins

The agency that oversees child welfare in Washington wants to hire nearly 100 more child protection workers.

But the budget request comes after years of lawsuits that cost the state more than $150 million. Now the question is whether Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services has taken adequate steps to learn from child welfare cases that went awry.

Austin Jenkins

 

Low-wage workers picketed and rallied across the country Thursday in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

On the steps of the Washington state Capitol, a group of about 50 people gathered, mostly minimum wage earners who carried signs saying "Strike poverty." They’re calling for a $15 per hour base wage in Washington state.

Pages