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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 Senator Plans To Reintroduce Orca, Dolphin Captivity Ban

Robert Pittman
File photo. SeaWorld announced that it will phase out orca shows at its San Diego theme park.

A Washington state senator says he will try again in January to convince his colleagues to ban marine mammal shows. That announcement Monday came as SeaWorld said it will end orca whale performances at its San Diego theme park next year.

Orca shows at other SeaWorld parks will continue. But Democratic state Senator Kevin Ranker cautiously welcomed the news about SeaWorld phasing out its orca shows in San Diego.

“I sure hope that we are pulling back from wanting to go see whales and other cetaceans in captivity and instead we come to places like the beautiful Puget Sound and see them in the wild where they’re in their splendor,” he said.

Ranker lives on Orcas Island. Earlier this year, he introduced legislation that would have made it illegal to hold orcas, dolphins or porpoises in captivity for entertainment purposes -- even though nobody’s doing that in Washington state right now. His proposal died after representatives of the marine mammal park industry flew in to oppose the measure.

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."