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.

Lobbyists play a key role in political fundraising. Just consider the invitation to a fundraiser Wednesday night for the Speaker and the Majority Leader of the Washington state House.

If you thought the battle over pornography ended with The People vs. Larry Flynt, think again. Utah has taken the step of declaring pornography a public health threat much like tobacco. And now it’s on the agenda in Washington state.

Sponsors of Initiative 1464 on Washington’s fall ballot say they’re trying to limit big money influence on Washington politics. The initiative is a 23-page overhaul of Washington’s campaign finance and lobbying laws.

Washington’s Republican candidate for governor said he supports raising the minimum wage in some parts of the state -- but not everywhere. Bill Bryant outlined his position Tuesday in a jobs and economy speech to the Association of Washington Business Policy Summit at the Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum.

Former CEO of Washington’s Western State Hospital Ron Adler was publicly fired as head of the troubled state psychiatric hospital by Gov Jay Inslee earlier this year after the escape and recapture of two high-risk patients. But Adler continued working for the state.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley was back in federal court Friday. He’s facing a second trial next year for charges related to his past real estate services business. His first trial ended with the jury acquitting him of making a false statement to the IRS but deadlocked on all other counts.

After five terms in office, Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is retiring. The two candidates running to replace him don’t see eye-to-eye over the proper role of the lieutenant governor.

Brash. That’s how you might describe Washington state’s two-term State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. He hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind and criticize the governor and legislators over school funding.

Now Dorn is stepping aside and two newcomers are vying for the non-partisan job.

It was nearly a decade ago that the McCleary family sued the state of Washington over school funding. In the years since, the state Supreme Court has sided with the family, found the state in contempt of court and imposed a $100,000 per day fine.

It’s back to school time. It was also back to court Wednesday for lawyers in an ongoing school funding lawsuit in Washington state.

Alan Copsey, center, a deputy attorney general for the state of Washington, speaks during a hearing before the Washington State Supreme Court regarding a lawsuit against the state over education funding, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, in Olympia, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Kim Malcolm talks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about this week's state Supreme Court hearing over funding public education in Washington.

Just as the school year begins, the Washington state Supreme Court will get an update Wednesday on school funding efforts in the state legislature. Tuesday, a panel of lawmakers got an earful.

The ongoing fight over school funding in Washington state is heading back to court. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before the Washington Supreme Court.

Lobbyists are paid to try to influence legislation. One way they build relationships with lawmakers is by hosting political fundraisers. And that’s happening a lot this election season with lobbyists for business, labor and other interests.

Washington Republicans say the way state employees collectively bargain pay and benefits is not transparent and presents a conflict of interest.

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