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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."

Washington Legislature Convenes With Election Year Issues On Agenda

File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building

The political divide is already on display in the Washington state capitol as lawmakers convened for their 60-day election year session.

The first gavels fell at noon Monday.

You can expect to see lawmakers teeing up some election year red meat on both sides of the aisle. The recent Boeing machinists vote suggests that pensions are going to be a hot topic. As are worker rights, especially in the wake of a recent vote in the city of Sea-Tac to approve a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Other issues that are on the agenda: from Democrats, a paid sick leave proposal; and from Republicans, proposed changes to Washington’s workers’ compensation system.

In Olympia, Democrats control the House while a mostly Republican coalition is in charge of the state Senate.

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."