Olympia Correspondent, Northwest News Network
Since January 2004, Austin has been the Olympia-based state government reporter for the Northwest News Network, a consortium of public radio stations in Washington and Oregon that includes KUOW. Austin's areas of coverage include Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington Legislature.
Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. In 2019, Austin received his Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington Communication Leadership program.
Languages Spoken: English
There are more questions than answers in the case of a missing former foster child from Grays Harbor County. Five-year-old Oakley Carlson has been unaccounted for since February of last year. Police say her parents aren’t cooperating with the investigation. Oakley’s former foster mom questions why Oakley was sent back to live with her parents after more than two years in foster care. The governor's office and the Department of Children Youth and Families won't answer questions about the case citing privacy laws and the ongoing law enforcement investigation.
Three major opioid distributors will pay the state of Washington and local communities $476 million to end an ongoing lawsuit. The agreement announced Tuesday comes after the state attorney general rejected a previous settlement offer last summer.
A Sumner, Washington seafood company has been fined $56,000 for not complying with Washington's mask mandate. State investigators linked the death of an employee to a November 4, 2021 staff meeting where most of the attendees were unmasked.
In recent years, Washington’s Legislature has grown more diverse. And majority Democrats have emphasized diversity and equity as core values. But now three members of color, out of nearly 30, are stepping down from the Legislature after serving just one full term. One of them describes the legislative work environment as toxic.
Washington’s long-time elected insurance commissioner has used offensive terms in the workplace to describe people of different races and ethnicities, as well as people who are transgender. That’s according to former agency insiders who’ve come forward in recent weeks. Meanwhile, other former employees are giving new accounts of what they say is Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s mistreatment of staff.
The state of Washington is putting tens of millions of dollars into shoring up a fractured children’s mental health safety net. But it may come too late for a 14-year-old nonverbal autistic teen who spent five months stuck in the hospital.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed into law three gun-related bills, including one that will prohibit the sale of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
From the capitol to the campaign: What the 2022 legislative session could mean for Washington state elections
From lawmaking to campaigning in the blink of an eye — that’s what Washington state legislators have done after adjourning their 60-day session late last week.
That’s a wrap. Washington’s sprint-like, 60-day legislative session has adjourned after majority Democrats approved a hefty supplemental budget along with the first major transportation funding package since 2015. Now lawmakers will be free to hit the campaign trail and start raising money for the 2022 elections. All 98 House seats and about half of the state’s 49 state senate positions are up for election this year.
Mike Kreidler, Washington’s longtime insurance commissioner, is facing allegations that he verbally mistreats staff. Current and former employees say it’s part of a pattern that’s gotten worse in recent months and is contributing to high turnover in the office. Kreidler says he has high standards for his staff, but said he will work to be more careful in how he deals with people.