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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 Pays Out $48M In Liability Claims In FY 2014

Washington State Department of Enterprise Services

An annual report released Tuesday revealed that Washington paid a total of $48 million in tort claim payments last fiscal year to people who were somehow harmed by the state.

That’s a six-year low.

The single biggest payout was $9 million. It went to six children who suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse in their biological home and in foster care. The Department of Social and Health Services was accused of failing to protect the children.

Washington also recently paid $8 million to six more children in a similar case.

Another $8 million went to victims of a deadly shooting in Skagit County in 2008. Issac Zamora was on community supervision when he killed six people, including a sheriff’s deputy, and wounded four more.

A Washington prison inmate was awarded nearly $3 million after his cellmate blinded him.

All of these payouts were the result of out-of-court settlements.

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."