Austin Jenkins

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.

Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke faced questions from state lawmakers Monday as the 2016 legislative session convened. The head of Washington’s prison system called the accidental early release of more than 3,000 inmates the “largest single error” in his agency’s history.

Washington voters could decide in November on a combined minimum wage and sick leave measure . A union-backed campaign calling itself “Raise Up Washington” filed an initiative Monday to raise the state’s base wage to $13.50 an hour by 2020.

A Washington prison inmate who was accidentally released early and then locked back up has been granted a rare medical furlough. Bobby Davis said his re-release from prison this week came as a welcome surprise.

Washington lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for a short election-year session. They say getting bipartisan agreement on a school funding plan is a top priority.

According to the latest non-partisan Elway Poll released Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee leads his top Republican challenger by nine points. Pollster Stuart Elway said a nine point race at this early stage seems like a tight race.

A member of the Washington National Guard has emerged as a vocal supporter of the armed occupiers in eastern Oregon.

Staff Sgt. Maureen Peltier has served in the Guard since 2000. She even deployed to Iraq. But over the years she says she’s come to believe that corruption and a toxic environment exists in many parts of the U.S. government. Thus her interest in what she calls the patriot movement.

“I’ve been watching the patriot movement quietly for years while serving,” Peltier said.

The state of Washington is rounding up former prison inmates who were accidentally released early because of a computer glitch.

The Washington state Senate plans to continue its experiment with remote testimony in the 2016 legislative session. This comes as welcome news to a school superintendent who nearly died on Stevens Pass after testifying at the capitol.

Washington state has a plan to fully fund preschool for low-income children by 2020. The current state budget adds more slots. Even so, many thee and four-year-olds remain on a waitlist.

Heavy rains in the lowlands and heavy snow in the mountains are making holiday travel tricky.

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