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 Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order Thursday in response to President Donald Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The Democrat said the state will not participate in “mean-spirited policies” on immigration.

This week, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security announced an aggressive plan to deport people who are in the United States illegally and who run afoul of the law.

On a visit to Olympia on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray described the policy as “very wrongheaded.”

Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton said he’s “very excited” about the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Benton is a senior adviser to the White House at EPA.

Washington prosecutors say state law makes it nearly impossible to criminally charge a police officer who uses deadly force. Now a key state lawmaker predicts that law will change this year.

When a convicted felon, domestic abuser or fugitive tries to buy a gun in Oregon and is denied after a background check, a state trooper comes calling. Sometimes it leads to an arrest and prosecution.

But when this happens in Washington, it’s a different story.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson predicts future legal battles with President Donald Trump. The Democrat said Wednesday that he’s prepared to sue the president again if he feels Washington state is harmed by White House actions.

A bipartisan proposal to repeal the death penalty in Washington state will get a hearing Wednesday morning. But the Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee said there’s no plan to hold a vote on the measure.

When President Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration and refugees last month, it was Washington state that led the legal battle to overturn it. Now, after a string of court rulings, it appears that the fight could be be heading all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And the question many people are asking is, why Washington?

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Thursday afternoon refused to reinstate President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations. The court left in place a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travelers to enter the U.S.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is vowing to continue to resist policies from President Donald Trump. At a news conference Thursday, the Democrat said Washington has been “appropriately bold and protective” of its interests.

Domestic abusers, felons and fugitives are prohibited from owning guns. But what happens if they try to buy a gun? In Oregon, the State Police investigate or alert local police. In Washington state no one follows up.

But that could soon change.

Outside the federal courthouse in downtown Seattle last Friday afternoon, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson suddenly found himself in the national spotlight after federal Judge James L. Robart had just imposed an immediate, nationwide halt to President Trump's executive order on immigration and refugees. As camera shutters clicked, Ferguson played David to Trump's Goliath.

"The law is a powerful thing," Ferguson said. "It has the ability to hold everybody accountable to it and that includes the president of the United States."

First it was companies like Amazon and Expedia. Now Washington state’s lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration has the support of former top U.S. officials.

Washington Senate Republicans are taking aim at organized labor. They’ve scheduled a series of public hearings beginning Monday on measures designed to reduce the influence of labor unions.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee seems to have a new part-time job: foil to President Donald Trump. And it’s getting him lots of attention, including mentions on Facebook and in the national media.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants a new capital gains tax and carbon tax to comply with a court order to fully fund public schools. Republicans in the state Senate Friday instead proposed to solve the state’s school funding crisis by raising the state property tax while lowering local rates.

A conservative Republican state senator from northeast Washington has resigned his seat to take a job with the new Trump administration. Sen. Brian Dansel announced his resignation Tuesday leaving the Washington Senate in a temporary political tie.

When we think of kids getting suspended or expelled from school, we usually think of high schoolers. But it also happens to elementary school students -- even kindergartners. Monday parents begged a panel of Washington lawmakers to ban suspensions for the youngest students.

There’s a lot the Democratic governors of Washington and Oregon don’t want from President-elect Donald Trump. They’re miles apart on health care, immigration and trade. But it turns out each governor does have a wish list for the new administration.

The idea of giving workers paid time off to care for a new baby or an elderly parent has long been a priority of the left. But now the idea is gaining traction with some Republicans in the Washington Legislature.

Workers in Washington state are already eligible for up to 24 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave under state and federal law. A decade ago the Washington Legislature passed a paid family leave program, but never funded it. Now Washington Democrats and their labor allies are making a hard push to finally fund and expand that program.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was sworn in Wednesday for a second term. In his inaugural address to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, the Democrat said his top priority this year is to fully fund education.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Should it be easier to criminally charge police officers in Washington who use deadly force? A legislative task force says “yes”—but the vote was far from unanimous. Washington lawmakers are undecided on the issue as they convene Monday for their 2017 session.

Washington state lawmakers face a daunting task as they convene on Monday for the 2017 legislative session: how to fully fund public schools by 2018. And that job might have just gotten harder.

The face of Washington state government is about to get a makeover. Five new statewide elected officials will take office in January -- a record in modern times.

They may not change history. But four Washington electors made history Monday when they broke ranks and voted for alternative candidates for president and vice president. This hasn’t happened in Washington in 40 years.

Meanwhile, all seven of Oregon’s Electoral College votes went to Hillary Clinton. Clinton easily won each state’s popular vote last month.

The Washington State Patrol owns a small fleet of planes that state agencies and officials can charter. On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 8, two Washington state troopers piloted a twin engine King Air from Olympia to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee plans to propose significant new investments in education and mental health. The Democrat will roll out his priorities for Washington’s next two-year budget at a series of events beginning Tuesday.

Typically a survivor of domestic violence would never know if their abuser tried to buy a gun and was denied after a background check. But now a state lawmaker and a domestic violence survivor want to change that.

A sentencing calculation error that led to the early release of nearly 3,000 Washington prison inmates over more than a decade came to light one year ago this month. And Washington’s interim Secretary of Corrections has warned a similar mistake could happen again.

Washington’s only maximum security prison for women is overcrowded. That means some inmates are being housed at the Yakima County Jail. Now family members are calling on the Gov. Jay Inslee to halt those transfers.

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