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.

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.

The Washington Legislature has no plans to impeach indicted State Auditor Troy Kelley. And now it’s clear he also won’t be recalled from office.

Washington state abolished parole more than 30 years ago. Now, there’s a push by some inmate advocates to bring parole back. They had a chance to make their case Tuesday before a panel of state lawmakers.

Partisan tensions are building over the early release of nearly 3,000 Washington prison inmates that resulted in two deaths. Republicans held a third hearing Monday into the matter.

The state of Washington spends about $1 billion per year on prescription drugs -- that’s state and federal funds. And the cost has been going up. Now some state lawmakers are wondering if there’s a way to drive a better bargain. Or at least shed some new light on how drugs are priced.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has released a 52-page investigative report by two former federal prosecutors, Carl Blackstone and Robert Westinghouse, into the early release of nearly 3,000 prison inmates over a 13-year period. Those releases resulted in two deaths.

The stage is set in Olympia for a fight over eliminating tax breaks and whether to dip into the state’s rainy day fund. House Democrats say ‘yes’ to both. Senate Republicans say ‘no’.

Washington Republicans have said the state Supreme Court’s sanction over school funding “presents a clear threat” to separation of powers. Now the chief justice of the Supreme Court is offering her perspective.

More than a decade ago, Washington voters approved a ballot measure requiring performance audits of state and local government programs. But now Washington’s deputy state auditor says funding for those performance audits is imperiled. And she’s concerned it’s because of elected auditor Troy Kelley’s legal troubles.

The state lawyer at the center of an early release error involving Washington prison inmates has testified under oath for the first time. Two deaths are attributed to the mistake.

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