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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 Lawmakers React Along Party Lines To Teacher Walkouts

File photo by Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network

Lawmakers in Olympia are in a special session to finalize the Washington state budget. Some teachers’ unions have decided to walk out for a day to appeal for more money in the K-12 budget.

There’s a difference in how Democrats and Republicans respond to teacher walkouts.

Democrats are careful about how they talk about these and react. A couple of weeks ago the governor said that while he doesn’t necessarily approve of these one-day walkouts he understands teacher frustration.

Republicans are more likely to bring up a bill introduced by Sen. Tim Sheldon—he’s actually a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans—that would basically prohibit teachers from being paid on walk-out days.

Teachers’ unions are major backers of Democratic party politics in Washington state.

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."