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. His 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. Austin is the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Journalism Award from the Washington State Association for Justice.

Despite what state lawmakers say, Washington’s next budget doesn’t fully fund schools. That’s the opinion of the lawyer who sued the state in 2007 over school funding.

Attorney Thomas Ahearne said it’s not enough money and it doesn’t get to the schools fast enough.

Details are emerging about the budget Washington state lawmakers plan to pass before midnight Friday. Over the next four years, schools in Washington will get more than $7 billion in additional state funds.

Much of that money will come from a hike in the state property tax.

Washington lawmakers have reached agreement on a budget just in time to avert a government shutdown. The deal was announced Wednesday morning, but details have yet to be released.

There’s still no word of a budget deal in the Washington state Capitol. And a partial government shutdown is just days away. Yet lawmakers remain optimistic.

After weeks of deadlock, Washington lawmakers could be close to reaching an agreement in principle on a state budget, House and Senate budget writers said on Friday.

For the second time in less than a year, the state of Washington has been sanctioned for failing to turn over evidence in a civil court case.

Unless lawmakers can agree on a budget, the state of Washington is just days away from a first-ever government shutdown. Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday called a third special session and demanded that House Democrats and Senate Republicans get to the table and get a deal.

If Washington lawmakers don’t pass a state budget by June 30, the state will go into a partial government shutdown. And the impacts would be significant.

So what would that look like?

The state of Washington is 10 days from a government shutdown as lawmakers head into a third overtime session with still no budget deal.

A state senator from Seattle is renewing his call to rewrite Washington’s police deadly force law. Democrat David Frockt represents the legislative district where Seattle police shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four on Sunday.

It looks like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will have to call a third special session of the state legislature. The current overtime session ends Wednesday—and there’s still no budget deal.

The state of Washington is 15 days from a partial government shutdown if lawmakers can’t come to agreement on a budget. On Thursday there was a noisy march through the Capitol and a high level meeting in the governor’s office.

But so far, there’s no sign of a deal.

Online retailer eBay wants to stop an internet tax proposal in the Washington Legislature. To do that the company is rallying its customer base.

With a government shutdown looming, Washington Senate Republicans are characterizing the status of budget negotiations differently than Gov. Jay Inslee.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is sounding the alarm over the pace of budget negotiations at the state Capitol. During a media availability Monday, the Democrat said that it’s time for both sides to make “major moves” toward compromise.

There are just 10 days left in Washington’s second legislative overtime session. And still there’s no sign of a budget deal.

Two inmates who escaped from a minimum security work camp near Olympia were captured Sunday afternoon in Capitol State Forest.

How valuable are the naming rights for an NFL stadium? In Seattle, the answer is nearly $163 million over 15 years.

A state legislative race in Washington is starting to draw out-of-state money. For one donor from Idaho that’s because the outcome could determine west coast climate policy.

It’s only June in an off-election year, but yard signs are up and candidates are knocking on doors in Washington’s 45th legislative district. It’s just one race, but the outcome could decide who controls the Washington state Senate.

Washington State Chief Privacy Officer Alex Alben thinks it’s time for an online consumer bill of rights. He discussed the idea Thursday on TVW's "Inside Olympia" program.

More than two dozen former federal prosecutors from western Washington are pushing back against new guidance from the Trump administration.

Washington’s 30-day special session of the legislature ends Tuesday. But there’s still no sign of a budget deal or a plan to fully fund education. That means Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to call a second overtime session.

On January 25, 1997, Cecil Emile Davis, a “violent offender” on state supervision, broke into the Tacoma home of 65-year-old Yoshiko Couch. Once inside he raped and beat her and then suffocated her by holding a rag soaked in cleaning solvents over her mouth.

Davis was later convicted of aggravated first degree murder and sentenced to death.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will spend the next few days focused on trade with Canada and Mexico. Thursday he will meet in Seattle with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. After that Inslee leaves on a trade mission to Mexico.

A trio of measures Gov. Jay Inslee will sign into law Tuesday aims to make roads in Washington state safer. They include a new ban on using electronics behind the wheel.

Monday marks the start of candidate filing week in Washington state. It’s the week when people running for public office must file with the secretary of state’s office. But one political contest is already underway in a big way.

On Saturday a former Washington state prison inmate will graduate magna cum laude from Seattle University School of Law. But her criminal record may prevent her from practicing law as a licensed attorney.

Gun dealers in Washington state will soon be required to report when someone tries to buy a gun and fails a background check. Gov. Jay Inslee signed that requirement into law Wednesday as part of a crackdown on prohibited gun buyers. 


The halfway mark has come and gone in Washington’s 30-day special session of the legislature. But there’s still no deal on a budget or a school funding solution.

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