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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."

Divergent Agendas As Washington Legislature Approaches Halfway Point

washington_capitol800.jpg
Colin Fogarty
/
Northwest News Network files
File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building

Washington’s 60-day legislative session is approaching the halfway mark, but divergent agendas are likely to result in a lot of proposals dying when they cross the Rotunda to the other chamber.

But Washington’s Capitol is divided. Democrats control the House and have made income inequality and workplace rights their top issues. Over in the Senate, a mostly Republican coalition holds the majority. They are focused more on the business climate in Washington.

So far there have not been major breakthroughs on big issues like funding for transportation and education. Governor Jay Inslee is pushing for a gas tax hike to pay for roads and transit. And the Washington Supreme Court has set an April 30 deadline for the governor and lawmakers to come up with a plan to fully fund basic education.

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."