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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A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers has introduced a resolution to impeach indicted State Auditor Troy Kelley. That announcement Monday follows months of calls for the first-term Democrat to resign after being charged with possession of stolen funds and tax evasion unrelated to his duties in office.

In the second day of a pretrial hearing in the case of indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley, defense attorney Angelo Calfo continued to question the lead FBI investigator in the case. Calfo is seeking to undermine key foundational elements of the theft, money laundering and tax evasion case against Kelley even before it reaches a scheduled trial in March. 

The attorney for indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley aggressively sought to undermine the case against his client during a pretrial hearing in Tacoma.

Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday. He’s fighting to get back nearly $1 million the feds seized in September.

Federal agents started investigating indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley before he was elected to that office. That’s according to a document prosecutors filed Tuesday in federal court.

The Washington state Capitol campus could soon be a no-fly-zone for drones. The agency that oversees the 486-acre campus is considering a strict ban.

Sore losers. That’s what Washington anti-tax activist Tim Eyman called opponents of Initiative 1366 Tuesday. This after they filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court to block the tax-limiting measure voters recently passed.

The search for a missing bow hunter in central Washington has been temporarily called off because of worsening weather. This follows a rare call out for volunteer searchers to help in the effort.

Pro-refugee demonstrators disrupted a planned rally at the Washington state Capitol Friday against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.

Washington lawmakers are meeting at the state Capitol this week to get ready for the 2016 legislative session. If lawmakers are back in town, that means lobbyists are too. So why squander the moment?

Washington prison inmates who suffer from “serious and painful medical conditions” are often denied adequate healthcare. That’s the allegation contained in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Seattle this week.

For the first time, prosecutors have obtained a federal Lacey Act conviction for trafficking in poached Northwest maple wood.

September’s deadly Aurora Bridge accident in Seattle and the 2015 fire season are on the agenda as Washington lawmakers return to the Capitol on Thursday and Friday.

Heavy rains have flooded the one road in and out of La Push on the Washington coast. That means the 300-400 residents of the Quileute Indian Reservation are cut off.

Opponents of Initiative 1366, a tax-limiting measure passed by Washington voters on November 3, said they will try to get an injunction to keep the new law from taking effect. That announcement Thursday comes as the Washington Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that allowed the measure to remain on the ballot.

Prosecutors in Washington state want voters to decide in 2016 whether to keep or repeal the death penalty. It’s been 40 years since Washington voters last weighed-in on the death penalty. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says the time has come for voters to have another say on the subject.

A Washington state senator says he will try again in January to convince his colleagues to ban marine mammal shows. That announcement Monday came as SeaWorld said it will end orca whale performances at its San Diego theme park next year.

Washington is unlikely to meet a January deadline to provide jail inmates with court-ordered mental health services within seven days.

A staffing shortage at Western State Hospital has created a crisis situation. Federal inspectors this week determined that patients and staff face immediate risk for harm.

There’s a surprise newcomer to the campaign for a higher minimum wage in Washington. It’s the state’s restaurant association.

Washington voters appear to have given the thumbs up to another Tim Eyman tax-limiting measure. But the courts could get the final say.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington voters are showing once again that they like the idea of a two-thirds requirement for tax hikes. In early returns, Initiative 1366 was passing with 54 percent of the vote.

Alcoa’s decision to idle two aluminum plants in Washington comes just months after state lawmakers renewed tax breaks for the company.

The attorney for indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley wants some of the charges against his client dropped. Attorney Angelo Calfo is also petitioning a judge to break apart the criminal indictment into separate trials.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island is home to 252 sex offenders. These are men -- and one woman -- who’ve completed their prison sentences but are deemed too dangerous to release. The state is supposed to offer treatment to all of them so they can have the chance to get out. But advocates say a group of disabled residents are languishing in unconstitutional conditions that give them little hope of ever leaving the island.

Judge Ronald Leighton took federal prosecutors to task this week, saying they may have overreached when they seized nearly $1 million from indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley in September.

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Payouts on lawsuits and other legal claims cost Washington taxpayers nearly $60 million in fiscal year 2015. That’s according to a state report issued Thursday.

Andrew Holmes, a former soldier from Boise, is speaking out about his war crimes and his time in prison. He was the youngest member of what came to be known as the “kill team” from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Washington State Patrol is reminding drivers to move over -- or at least slow down -- when approaching an emergency vehicle that’s stopped with its lights flashing. The Patrol will begin a three-day crackdown Tuesday on drivers who don’t give troopers some space.

Consultants leading a study on why dozens of troopers have recently left the Washington State Patrol warned Thursday that the agency is in “dire straits.”

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