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.

A Washington state senator who says he’s heard from “literally hundreds of parents” of adult children who are struggling with mental illness or addiction wants to allow families to petition for temporary guardianship.

A year ago this month, Carla Tolle’s 13-year-old grandson Edgar Vazquez was shot and killed by a friend while they played at the friend’s grandfather’s house in Kelso, Washington.

Under pressure to step down following a new allegation of sexual misconduct, Republican state legislator Matt Manweller on Monday said that he would resign his seat if re-elected this November. 

A new state political action committee with a high-profile co-chair from California and national financial backing has launched a campaign to unseat Washington state legislator Matt Manweller.

The campaign, which launched Monday morning, comes as Washington House Republican leaders have asked Manweller to resign his seat following a report by the Northwest News Network last week on an alleged underage relationship Manweller had with a former high school student in 1997. Manweller was expected to respond to the call for him to resign later Monday. 

House Republican leaders on Friday called on embattled state Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Cle-Elum) to resign. The move followed the publication of a story by the public radio Northwest News Network earlier in the day detailing an alleged sexual relationship between Manweller and a 17-year-old former high school student of his in 1997.

As teachers in a record number of Washington school districts strike this week, a top official with their union says the unwillingness of superintendents and school boards to negotiate higher pay raises for teachers is a crime. 

"It's wage theft," said Stephen Miller, vice president of the Washington Education Association (WEA), Thursday in an interview on TVW's "Inside Olympia" program. "They are taking wages away from public employees."

On a recent evening in Vancouver, Washington, more than 80 people gathered at the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They were there for a forum organized by a fledging group of moms whose severely mentally ill children have struggled to get the help they need in Washington state — sometimes with deadly consequences.

“We are all part of a tribe that we have joined whether we wanted to or not,” mother Jerri Clark told the packed room.

Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller “engaged in a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior” with current and former female students at Central Washington University (CWU) over a 13-year period, according to an 85-page investigative report released by the university on Wednesday.

A Republican state representative from eastern Washington is drawing attention after comments he made about the media at a pro-gun rally over the weekend. 

At the "Liberty or Death" event on Saturday in Spokane, Republican Matt Shea of Spokane Valley, who's currently seeking a sixth term in office, said "a lot of people in the media" are guilty of smear campaigns, innuendo and implication.

"And I want to tell you something about that," Shea told the crowd. "We can't become those dirty, godless, hateful people. We have to uphold free speech no matter what." 

For years, mentally ill inmates in this state have languished in county jails awaiting state evaluations to determine if they're competent to stand trial.

But according to a legal settlement announced this Thursday, people with mental illness who are caught up in Washington state’s criminal justice system would get more services.

In cases when inmates are found not competent, they often wait weeks or months more to get a bed at a state hospital.

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