Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

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. He regularly files stories for NPR News. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin was a freelance general assignment reporter at KING–TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. He also worked as a freelance education reporter for KPLU–FM, the Tacoma–based NPR station. Austin spent 2001 in Washington, D.C. as a Knight Foundation/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Austin has also worked as a television reporter in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; and Bozeman, Montana. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and has a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Over the years Austin has won numerous professional awards for his reporting. He lives in Olympia with his wife Jennifer Huntley and their two children.

Read Austin's blog, "The Washington Ledge: Dispatches From Olympia."

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Estate Tax
4:01 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Deal Struck To Prevent Washington Estate Tax Refunds

Washington Legislature

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:48 pm

The Washington House and Senate have struck a deal that would forestall having to issue estate tax refunds starting Friday morning. House Democrats quickly passed the tax rewrite in response to an unfavorable court decision.

But the mostly Republican-controlled Senate has not yet voted. House Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle portrays it as a choice between money for school kids or refunds for wealthy estates.

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Prison System
7:07 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Government Shutdown? Prisons Would Stay Open, But Much Of State Would Not

Governor Jay Inslee greets his cabinet prior to a meeting to begin plans for a possible government shutdown on July 1st
Credit Nick Brown

Washington prisons would stay open, but much of the state would not if there’s a government shutdown. Governor Jay Inslee met with his cabinet Wednesday to begin contingency planning if there’s no budget by the end of the month. That’s the start of the new fiscal year. Nick Brown is the Governor’s attorney.

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Estate Tax Refunds
4:15 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Washington Estate Tax Refunds Go Out Friday, Unless Legislature Acts

Washington lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a budget – if they hope to avoid a government shutdown. But there’s another costly deadline looming this week.

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Second Special Session
4:04 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Washington Legislature Convenes Second Special Session

The electronic reader board in the Washington Senate announced the first day of the second special session.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The opening gavel has once again fallen in the Washington legislature.

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Background Checks
4:34 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Gun Control Advocates File Background Check Initiative

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 3:32 pm

Gun control supporters in Washington have filed an initiative to the legislature to require background checks for all gun sales. The move Tuesday follows a failed effort earlier this year at the Capitol to enact a universal background check measure.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is the group behind the initiative. But it was filed by Cheryl Stumbo, a survivor of a 2006 shooting at Seattle’s Jewish Federation.

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Second Special Session
4:34 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Inslee Announces Second Special Session, Prepares For Government Shutdown

Washington Governor Jay Inslee speaks at a news conference in Olympia.
Credit Christina Salerno / TVW

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will call lawmakers back into a second special session beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday. He’s also beginning preparations for a government shutdown on July 1 if there’s no deal by then.

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Marijuana Regulations
5:13 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Washington Pot Logo Viewed As Promotional By Critics

Washington State Liquor Control Board

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:03 pm

Washington’s Liquor Control Board has been inundated with feedback on its proposed marijuana regulations. The deadline to submit comments was Monday. The Board is writing the rules for legalized cannabis. Among the many concerns: the state’s new pot logo.

It’s called the Produced in Washington icon. It’s an outline of the state with a marijuana leaf in the middle. The idea was to require this label be affixed to any package containing marijuana sold at a retail store.

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Washington Budget
4:41 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Time Is Nearly Up For Washington Budget Deal

Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 7:55 am

Washington’s overtime legislative session ends at midnight on Tuesday. But there’s still no agreement on a state budget for the next two years.

Over the weekend, the mostly Republican senate majority passed a revised version of its own spending plan, along with a trio of controversial policy measures.

The three policy bills are not new, the Senate passed them during the regular session. The difference is two of them now have referendum clauses, meaning voters would get the final say.

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Washington Budget
4:03 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Washington House Democrats Abandon Some Taxes In 'Compromise' Offer

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 3:57 pm

Washington House Democrats have abandoned some proposed tax increases, but not others, in what they call a “significant compromise” budget offer to the Senate. The public unveiling Wednesday of a slimmed down House spending plan comes as the clock is running out on the current overtime session with still no budget deal.

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Special Session
5:06 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Washington Budget Impasse Prompts Finger Pointing

There is one week left in Washington’s special legislative session.
Credit Bluedisk / Wikimedia Commons

There’s one week left in Washington’s special legislative session and still no budget deal. Governor Jay Inslee and the Senate majority caucus held dueling news conferences Tuesday complete with plenty of finger-pointing.

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