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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."

A Look Back At 2014 In Washington Politics, Elections and Legislature

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Gun-rights advocates gathered at the Washington Capitol in December to protest the state's new voter-approved background check law.

As 2014 winds down, let’s take a look back at some of the bigger stories in Washington politics, elections and at the legislature.

The year started with a fight that would echo all the way to Election Day and beyond. Should Washington require expanded gun background checks? Yes, said former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords in testimony before a Washington legislative panel.

“We must never stop fighting: fight, fight, fight,” she said.

But the legislature took a pass and let the issue go to the November ballot.

Democratic Governor Jay Inslee didn’t need legislative approval when in February he announced a moratorium on executions.

“If a death penalty case comes to my desk for action, I will issue a reprieve,” the governor announced.

Opponents of the death penalty praised Inslee. But not Frank Holden whose daughter’s killer was on death row.

“I think his decision has prolonged my agony,” he said.

2014 was was the year recreational pot stores opened for business in Washington. Guys like Rick Stevens could contemplate the soundtrack to their first legal high.

“Probably Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon,” he quipped.

Pot users might not go to jail anymore. But Washington lawmakers faced sanctions over school funding.

In November, voters approved expanded gun background checks. They cheered in Seattle, but Opponents later brought their guns in protest the Capitol.

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."