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

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.

WSDOT / Flickr

 

Thursday is the 21st anniversary of a deadly school shooting at Frontier Junior High in Moses Lake, Washington. To mark the anniversary, the sister of one of the victims plans to ask state lawmakers to make it a crime to not safely store guns.

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.

President Donald Trump wants a “major investigation” into voter fraud during the 2016 election. But Washington Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman said Wednesday that she’s seen no evidence of illegal voting.

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.

It happens thousands of times a year in Washington state: someone who isn’t allowed to own a gun tries to buy one but is denied after a background check. But even though it’s a crime to lie on a background check form, police rarely if ever investigate these cases.

As Donald Trump was being sworn in Friday morning, students from Olympia High School led a permitted rally on the steps of the Washington Capitol. Some were joined by their parents and had excused absences.

TVW

 

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.

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.

The Washington Legislature convenes Monday for a 105-day budget writing session. And the political dynamic in Olympia is full of digs at President-elect Trump, partisan sniping and disagreement over how to fund education.

Cori Medeiros / WSU Spokane Communications

 

Should it be easier to criminally charge police officers in Washington who use deadly force? A legislative task force said “yes," but the vote was far from unanimous.

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.

As the Seattle Seahawks played the L.A. Rams Thursday night, a Washington state lawmaker defended his proposal to allow concealed pistols at stadium events.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to make sweeping changes to the state’s mental health system. The Democrat Wednesday proposed a six-year plan to downsize the state’s two mental hospitals.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley has been dealt a setback by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel Tuesday declined to hear Kelley’s claim of double jeopardy.

Washington’s youngest state lawmaker is defending herself against ethics charges related to her social media practices. Republican Melanie Stambaugh appeared Tuesday before the Legislative Ethics Board.

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.

http://www.doc.wa.gov/

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 governor to halt those transfers.

Police across the Northwest and the country are mourning the shooting death of Tacoma police officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. He was a 17-year veteran of the department. His death is also having an effect on police recruits.

Pages