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."

 

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.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The end is near for a veteran-owned medical marijuana dispensary in downtown Olympia. It’s a casualty of the state merging recreational and medical marijuana.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

“Do you believe guns in the home make you less safe?”

“Who do you believe should legally be allowed to carry a concealed pistol on college campuses?”

Those are the kinds of questions political candidates are getting this year from gun control and gun rights groups.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Democrats are gathering this weekend in Tacoma for their state convention. Just like with the state Republican convention in Pasco last month, Democrats are a party divided. Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee. But Bernie Sanders supporters represent the majority of delegates.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The rainbow pride flag was raised over the Washington state Capitol Wednesday. It was then immediately lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Emergency responders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho this week are practicing for a subduction zone earthquake. It’s part of a regional drill called Cascadia Rising -- billed as the largest earthquake simulation in Northwest history.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Planes and parachutes might be the best bet for getting supplies to cut-off areas in the event of a subduction zone earthquake. National Guard pilots and paratroopers practiced supply drops and parachute jumps Thursday.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

There was a rumor a few weeks ago that Bernie Sanders was going to skydive into a rally in California. He didn’t end up doing that.

But recently two candidates for office in Washington state did jump out of an airplane. It was for a campaign kickoff event at the Shelton airport for Republican state Rep. Drew MacEwen. And he had a special guest in Republican candidate for governor Bill Bryant.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants oil trains to slow down and safety improvements to speed up. Inslee said Wednesday that he personally delivered that message to the CEO of Union Pacific and the executive chairman of BNSF over the last 48 hours.

Washington Department of Ecology

Friday’s oil train derailment and fire comes as Washington state prepares to put new oil shipment safety rules into effect. In fact, the derailment in the Columbia Gorge happened just as the first public hearing on those rules was wrapping up in Vancouver, Washington.

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