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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Four Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees were fired this month after an investigation found an “extremely sexualized culture” at a fish hatchery on the Columbia River.

Large crowds are expected to flock to Goldendale Observatory State Park to watch the August 21 eclipse. But as visitors look to the skies, they may not realize a renovation of that south central Washington observatory is on hold for very earthly reasons.

Lawmakers in Washington state had a fight so bad last month, they got together in a basement conference room Wednesday.

A former deputy director at Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is awaiting trial on charges he broke into the home of a co-worker and raped her while she slept.

The case has revealed a sexually-charged culture within the agency that one employee described as “a pattern of behavior that was not hidden.”

After a national search, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has tapped an insider to run the state’s largest agency. Western State Hospital CEO Cheryl Strange will take over as secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services in September.

Washington state’s voter rolls are “accurate,” and the state follows federal election laws. That’s the message Washington Director of Elections, Lori Augino, is sending to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Washington state lawmakers have adjourned and gone home without passing a $4.1 billion capital construction budget. For a community in southwest Washington, that means an elementary school may not get built on time and on budget.

The sewage system is crumbling in Carbonado, Washington, near Mt. Rainier. And if Washington lawmakers fail to pass a capital construction budget before they adjourn Thursday, a plan to replace it—and many other projects around the state—will be put on hold.

Last year, developmentally disabled residents in Washington state institutions choked to death, were sexually assaulted and nearly drowned. That’s according to a report being released Wednesday by Disability Rights Washington.

First it was Georgia. Then Montana. Now the national political spotlight is falling on Washington state and a special election later this year. But unlike those earlier contests, this one isn’t to fill a seat in Congress.

It’s for the state legislature.

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to pass a capital construction budget. Less than one week remains in the state’s third overtime session of the legislature.

Washington’s Attorney General’s Office has filed a major campaign finance lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union. The lawsuit announced late Tuesday accuses SEIU’s State Council of making more than $5 million in unreported campaign contributions.

For Tim Eyman, when it comes to initiatives it’s all about timing. And now the professional initiative promoter thinks the time is right for another version of his $30 car tabs measure. That’s because of Sound Transit 3, the voter-approved measure that has resulted in a spike in vehicle registration renewal fees.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has emerged as a fierce critic of President Donald Trump. The Democrat has hit the cable news circuit and blasted the president over immigration, health care, climate change.

In doing so, Inslee’s developed a national profile.  

In a move certain to anger Republicans, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday vetoed a tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers passed last week as part of a budget deal to avoid a July 1 government shutdown.

Beginning in 2020, workers in Washington will be eligible for paid family and medical leave through a new state program funded by employee and employer contributions. 



It’s not just the president’s commission on voter fraud that’s seeking information from the states. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman released a letter Monday from the Department of Justice.

There’s still no word of a budget deal in the Washington state Capitol. And a partial government shutdown is just days away. Yet lawmakers remain optimistic.

For the second time in less than a year, the state of Washington has been sanctioned for failing to turn over evidence in a civil court case.

Unless lawmakers can agree on a budget, the state of Washington is just days away from a first-ever government shutdown. Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday called a third special session and demanded that House Democrats and Senate Republicans get to the table and get a deal.

The state of Washington is 10 days from a government shutdown as lawmakers head into a third overtime session with still no budget deal.

A state senator from Seattle is renewing his call to rewrite Washington’s police deadly force law. Democrat David Frockt represents the legislative district where Seattle police shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four on Sunday.

The state of Washington is 15 days from a partial government shutdown if lawmakers can’t come to agreement on a budget. On Thursday there was a noisy march through the Capitol and a high level meeting in the governor’s office.

But so far, there’s no sign of a deal.

It looks like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will have to call a third special session of the state legislature. The current overtime session ends Wednesday—and there’s still no budget deal.

Online retailer eBay wants to stop an internet tax proposal in the Washington Legislature. To do that the company is rallying its customer base.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is sounding the alarm over the pace of budget negotiations at the state Capitol. During a media availability Monday, the Democrat said that it’s time for both sides to make “major moves” toward compromise.

Two inmates who escaped from a minimum security work camp near Olympia were captured Sunday afternoon in Capitol State Forest.

There are just 10 days left in Washington’s second legislative overtime session. And still there’s no sign of a budget deal.

How valuable are the naming rights for an NFL stadium? In Seattle, the answer is nearly $163 million over 15 years.

It’s only June in an off-election year, but yard signs are up and candidates are knocking on doors in Washington’s 45th legislative district. It’s just one race, but the outcome could decide who controls the Washington state Senate.

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