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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Opening arguments are expected Tuesday afternoon in the money laundering and tax evasion trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley. But first a jury of 12 plus two alternates must be empaneled.

Nearly one year after Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley was indicted by a federal grand jury, his trial on charges of possession and concealment of stolen property, money laundering and filing false tax returns is set to begin Monday in Tacoma.

A fresh budget proposal and some partisan sparks. That’s how a special session of the Washington legislature kicked off Friday. Senate Republicans went public with their latest budget offer and House Democrats quickly cried foul.

Washington lawmakers adjourned their 60-day session Thursday night after failing to reach agreement on an update to the state’s two-year budget. In response, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee followed through on a threat to veto several bills. He also immediately called a special session of the legislature to finish its work.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled voter-approved charter schools unconstitutional last fall. Now it appears they will get a second chance after the Washington House voted Wednesday night to fund charters with lottery proceeds, not general funds.

The clock is running out on Washington’s 60-day legislative session. House Democrats and Senate Republicans have until Thursday at midnight to approve an update to the state’s two-year budget. But first they need to agree on the details.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday that another former Washington Department of Corrections official has resigned over the accidental early release of nearly 3,000 prison inmates. Four other employees have been disciplined.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has a blunt warning for state lawmakers:

“Your bills are going to get vetoed if you don’t do your job and pass a budget.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified around 13,000 homeowners in connection with the real estate services fraud case against Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley. The notifications went to former customers of two title companies that contracted with Kelley before he was elected state auditor.

A fight over the state budget could send Washington lawmakers into overtime. Or, the legislature could adjourn without updating the state’s current two-year spending plan. The lead budget writer in the Washington House raised both of those scenarios Thursday.

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