Austin Jenkins | KUOW News and Information

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.

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.

The Washington State Patrol has agreed to a $15 million settlement in a class action lawsuit over the hiring and promotion of military veterans. The case involves troopers and trooper applicants who did not receive preference points for their service in the military as mandated by state law.

A Washington state prison inmate was accidentally held three-and-a-half years beyond his release date. The error was discovered last month. This follows the mistaken early release of nearly 3,000 Washington inmates over a 13-year period.

The Democratic governors of Washington and Oregon are condemning the Republican vote in the U.S. Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

It’s a bold move by Washington Realtors and other business groups. They’re taking on the number two Democrat in the Washington House with a TV ad that accuses him of “squeezing” taxpayers.

Former Washington governor Mike Lowry, an unapologetic liberal who advocated for higher taxes and social programs, died Monday from complications related to a stroke. He was 78.

When there is money left over from political campaigns, what do elected officials do with it? Records show that since Election Day more than a dozen Washington state lawmakers have dipped into leftover campaign cash for pay for everything from cellphones to meals out to travel.

And this “surplus campaign spending” gets little scrutiny.

The Washington Soldiers Home has been ordered to take steps to protect it residents. The order by outside regulators follows a recent investigation that found “widespread deficiencies” at the nursing home for veterans.

The Washington Soldiers Home is a state-run facility that serves veterans, their spouses or widows and Gold Star parents.

The Washington State Patrol has put another dent in its trooper shortage. Forty-nine new troopers were sworn-in Wednesday at a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda.

Among the troopers in formation was Robert Reyer of Salzburg, Austria. 



Washington state has a new secretary of Corrections. Stephen Sinclair has been with the department for 28 years. Most recently he was in charge of the prison division. He was previously the superintendent of the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla.




Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will likely call lawmakers back into special session on Monday. This comes as the clock runs out on the 105-day regular session without a budget deal--or agreement on school funding.

That’s led to plenty of finger-pointing at the Capitol.  

Washington lawmakers are about to go into an overtime session because they can’t reach a budget deal. But Wednesday another issue briefly took center stage in the Republican-led Senate budget committee: dandelions.

Washington state Senate Republicans and House Democrats are at loggerheads over how to fund schools. Republicans want to replace local school levies with a new state property tax levy. Democrats want a new capital gains tax to generate more money for schools.

In what has become the new normal, Washington state lawmakers are expected to go into an overtime session because they’ve been unable to agree on a state operating budget or a plan to fully fund public schools.

The regular 105-day session ends Sunday, April 23.

Marches and rallies are a common occurrence at the Washington Capitol. But recently Verizon Wireless staged a different kind of demonstration. It was part of an ongoing lobbying effort to get lawmakers to pass industry-friendly legislation. 




A measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers in Washington has unexpectedly died in the Republican-led state Senate. The bipartisan proposal failed to get a vote before a key deadline this week.

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