Washington Ledge

Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature.Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

 

WSDOT / Flickr

Embattled Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is not seeking re-election. Five candidates are running in the August 2 primary to replace him and restoring trust in the office is a recurring theme of the campaigns.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington’s state treasurer is a low-profile job with high stakes. It involves managing billions of dollars and guarding the state’s creditworthiness. The treasurer is responsible for selling billions of dollars of bonds to major institutional investors.

Phyllis Fletcher / Northwest News Network

Nine candidates are vying to replace outgoing Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. The results of the August 2 primary will pare that list down to two finalists for the non-partisan job.

Phyllis Fletcher / Northwest News Network

Historic forest fires. The Oso landslide. Global warming. These are among the issues in the race for Washington Commissioner of Public Lands. The position oversees state trust lands that generate money for schools.

The commissioner must also navigate a constant tension between the timber industry and environmentalists.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The political spotlight this week is on the Republican convention in Cleveland. Next week it will move to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. But Washington voters have a political homework assignment that has nothing to do with the conventions -- and it’s due August 2.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The police force in Washington’s state capital is changing. Fourteen months ago a white police officer in Olympia shot two African-American brothers. The shooting triggered local protests, but not a national outcry -- the brothers survived, although one was paralyzed.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A group of climate activists is fasting on the steps of the Washington state Capitol this week as part of a protest against Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed cap on carbon emissions. The activists say the cap doesn’t go far enough.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The recent police shootings of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota have reignited the debate over use of deadly force. That was on the mind of a black community leader in Washington state as she strapped on a gun belt and took aim inside a state-of-the-art training simulator for police.

At the Washington State Patrol Academy in Shelton, Corporal Lori Hinds guides a pair of visitors into what looks like a walk-in video game. Inside five, large video screens form a 300-degree computer-generated environment.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington voters will likely decide in November whether to raise the state minimum wage and require employers to provide paid sick leave. Backers of the Raise Up Washington campaign say they will submit more than 360,000 signatures Wednesday -- virtually guaranteeing it a spot on the fall ballot.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr - tinyurl.com/ha5h3wp

Life in prison is no picnic. But imagine being blind or deaf or in a wheelchair behind bars.

A new report out Wednesday says state prison systems should be doing more to accommodate disabled inmates.

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