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."


Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zwj3d3j

Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Bill Gates, and Steve and Connie Ballmer are among a growing list of wealthy Washingtonians who want to change the makeup of Washington’s Supreme Court. They are the top donors to a new political action committee called Citizens for Working Courts.

Judicial Integrity WA

A political action committee largely funded by three wealthy Washingtonians has unleashed a hard-hitting attack on a state Supreme Court justice up for re-election. The TV ad suggests Justice Charlie Wiggins is soft on crime.


A trio of wealthy Washingtonians has just put $350,000 into an effort to defeat a sitting state Supreme Court justice. Their target is Charlie Wiggins who’s been on the court since 2011.

Campaign photos

Washington’s race for governor is a lopsided affair. Incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee has a three-to-one fundraising advantage over Republican challenger Bill Bryant. And polls show Inslee with a 10 point lead.

But that’s not stopping Bryant from trying to make the campaign a referendum on Inslee’s leadership.

Fancy-cats-are-happy-cats / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/gkwa5rd

In what’s believed to be the first prosecution under a 2014 voter-approved background check law, a former Oak Harbor, Washington, resident has been charged with illegally transferring a .22-caliber pistol that was later used in a homicide.

Harvey Barrison / Flickr - tinyurl.com/zhj7uae

The practice of automatically charging 16 and 17-year-olds as adults for serious crimes is coming under scrutiny. The issue will come up Monday at a youth justice conference in Seattle and Tuesday during a Washington Supreme Court hearing.

Thurston County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit / Facebook

A police officer who was bitten in the genitals by a police dog is not entitled to sue for damages without first proving negligence. That was the decision Thursday from a narrowly divided Washington Supreme Court.

The floodgates have opened on negative campaign spending in Washington state. Just since October 1, more than $800,000 has been spent -- mostly to defeat candidates for the state legislature.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A political tornado is swirling toward western Washington's 30th Legislative District. It’s swallowing up money from political action committees and pummeling voters and the candidates with attack ads.

And the path the twister takes could determine control of the Washington state House.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

This year, a pair of wealthy southwest Washington businessmen have emerged as major donors to state Republicans. Billionaire investor Ken Fisher and developer Clyde Holland are stepping up their contributions as control of the Washington legislature hangs in the balance.