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.

Communities and schools across Washington state are getting some welcome news. After a months-long delay, lawmakers Thursday night passed a $4.3 billion, two year state construction budget.

After a months-long standoff, legislative Democrats and Republicans say they’ve reached a bipartisan deal on a thorny water rights issue that will pave the way for quick passage of a $4.5 billion capital construction budget that’s been held up since last spring.

A ban on bump stocks has passed out of a Washington state Senate committee. But it faces an uncertain future.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants state lawmakers to declare the opioid epidemic a public health crisis.

On average, two people die each day in Washington from opioid overdoses. That includes deaths from prescription and synthetic opioids, as well as heroin.

Losing a child is a devastating loss. But imagine if that death is followed by a legal battle. That’s what happened after a Mukilteo teenage died in 2016.

Now her mom is trying to change state law.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is making another push for a state carbon tax. The Democrat unveiled his latest proposal Tuesday during his State of the State address.

Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen said he’s not taking a job with the Trump administration and plans to run for re-election.

The Washington Legislature convenes Monday for a 60-day election year session. For the first time since 2013, Democrats will have one-party control of the Capitol.

The top issues include: education funding, a carbon tax and passage of a state capital construction budget.

Early numbers on a new Washington state law designed to crack down on felons, domestic abusers and others who try to buy a gun show that since July, more than 1,200 would-be gun buyers have failed background checks.

The Washington Legislature is set to open it's 2018 session on Monday. The 50 State Project from CQ Roll Call asked Austin Jenkins to come up with the top five issues facing Washington lawmakers this session.

Here's his list:

The Republican leader in the Washington state House says he was sexually harassed at the Capitol more than a decade ago. Dan Kristiansen revealed his experience Thursday during a legislative preview event hosted by the Associated Press.

Washington state lawmakers convene Monday for a short 60-day election year session. Already lawmakers have pre-filed dozens of bills they’d like to see passed.

A pair of underwear sold by Tiger Underwear, a Seattle-area company that has come under scrutiny for marketing images of boys wearing the underwear.
KUOW Photos/Megan Farmer

The story of how a Washington state company used boys in underwear to draw customers and the man with a secret past who tried to stop them.

Former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley has been found guilty of possession of stolen property, making false declarations and filing false tax returns, but not guilty of money laundering.

The verdict came at the end of Kelley’s second trial on federal charges related to his past real estate services business.

Monday’s deadly train accident near DuPont, Washington, was the second derailment of an Amtrak Cascades in five months. That’s raising questions about the safety of the popular commuter rail line that runs between Vancouver, BC, and Eugene, Oregon.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is vowing to make passenger rail service safer. The Democrat made his comments Tuesday at the scene of Monday’s derailment of an Amtrak Cascades train in Pierce County.

As clean up begins, firefighters are describing what it was like to respond to Monday’s Amtrak derailment in Pierce County, Washington.

Shortly after 7:30 a.m. during the morning commute, an Amtrak Cascades train derailed. Rail cars were on the freeway and hanging from a bridge.

Embattled Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller has resigned his leadership position with House Republicans. He’s also been stripped of a key committee role.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday rolled out his proposal for an update to the state’s two-year, $43 billion budget. Here are the top five items on the governor’s budget wish list:

A fiery top Republican in the Washington Legislature is facing renewed scrutiny over allegations he sexually harassed students as a professor at Central Washington University.

Washington state Sen. Karen Keiser said she wants to encourage disclosure of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. To that end, the Democrat introduced legislation on December 4 that would place limits on non-disclosure agreements.

The state of Washington may soon follow Oregon and California and allow a third gender option on birth certificates. The proposal would let people change their gender from male or female to the non-binary designation of “X.”

Women who signed a “Stand With Us” anti-harassment letter to Washington legislative leaders in November say they want a “safe, neutral space” to formally and informally report allegations of misconduct.

Gun rights advocates and legislative leaders are reacting to new rules on guns in the Washington state Senate. Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib announced a ban Monday on all firearms in the public viewing galleries.

This story has been updated

All firearms will be banned from the Washington state Senate public viewing galleries when the 2018 legislative session begins on January 8.

Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat who serves as the president of the Senate, issued that order Monday, extending a previous order banning openly-carried guns in the Senate galleries.

Washington state Rep. Paul Graves is proposing to end the cloak of secrecy around legislative emails, calendars and other records. The move comes as media outlets, including public radio, have sued the Legislature over public records.

Marijuana may be legal in Washington and Oregon, but police continue to bust illegal marijuana operations that are not licensed by the state.

The latest numbers from the Washington State Patrol show that 89 illegal marijuana growing operations were shut down in Washington over the past year. Some were indoor grows, most were outdoor.

Nearly 20,000 people have been removed from Washington’s Medicaid rolls for ineligibility. The purge happened after the state stepped up efforts to verify residency and income levels.

Washington and Oregon are making contingency plans in case Congress doesn’t reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP is for low-income families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Police are investigating the apparent murder of an inmate Sunday night at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.

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