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."

Pages

Trooper Death
4:32 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Washington Motorcycle Trooper Killed On Traffic Detail Related To Bridge Collapse

Trooper Sean O’Connell
Credit Northwest News Network

A Washington State Patrol trooper has died after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a box truck late Friday afternoon in Skagit County. Trooper Sean O’Connell was on a special assignment related to the collapse of the Skagit River I-5 bridge.

Read more
Lobbyist Reports
5:25 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Washington Lobbyists Routinely Fail To Properly Report Entertainment

Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:50 pm

Lobbyists in Washington state routinely fail to properly report dinners out with lawmakers. And dinners over $50 in value do not always show up – as required – on lawmakers’ personal financial statements. Those are among the findings of a public radio investigation – conducted in cooperation with the Associated Press.

The 'Morton Rule'

When retired Senator Bob Morton was in the Washington legislature, he’d go out to lunch with a lobbyist. But he had a rule.

Read more
State Senator Dies
4:02 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Washington State Senator Mike Carrell Dies At 69

Washington Legislature

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 2:07 pm

Washington state Senator Mike Carrell of Lakewood has died from complications related to treatment for a pre-leukemia blood disorder. 

Read more
Legislators Accept Free Meals
3:40 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Several Washington Lawmakers Eat Frequently On Lobbyists' Dime

State Senator Doug Ericksen Washington Legislature

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:52 pm

Washington state lawmakers are barred from accepting gifts intended to influence their vote. But there’s an exception to that rule. Members of the legislature are allowed to accept free food and drinks if it’s related to their official duties, but only on an “infrequent” basis.

However, a public radio investigation, done in cooperation with the Associated Press, reveals that dozens of state legislators frequently accept meals from lobbyists. And many of them do so even while collecting taxpayer-funded per diem payments.

Read more
I-5 Bridge
4:02 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Bridge Collapse Trucking Company's Safety Record Better Than Most

WSDOT

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 3:11 pm

Federal records show the trucking company involved in the I-5 bridge collapse in Skagit County north of Seattle has a safety record that’s better than most.

Mullen Trucking out of Alberta, Canada has an on-road performance rating of three percent. What does that mean? When it comes to trucking safety – like in golf – a low score is good.

Read more
Fictitious Driver Licenses
6:50 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Inslee Signs Law Allowing Fictitious Driver License Program To Continue

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 5:41 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed a law that will allow the state’s fictitious driver license program to continue – but only for undercover law enforcement activities. At the bill signing Inslee backed away from a previous statement that he would apply a broad definition of the term “law enforcement.”

Read more
Gas Tax Rally
3:57 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Backers Of Washington Gas Tax Package Rally At Capitol

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 3:13 pm

Pressure is mounting on Washington state lawmakers to approve a gas tax increase to fund road projects. Backers of the 10-cents-per-gallon proposal rallied at the state Capitol Monday. They’re pushing for a vote during the current 30-day overtime session.

The scene on the steps of the Capitol featured hardhats, signs and the chant “Pass it now. Pass it now.”

Read more
Fictitious Driver Licenses
5:27 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

CIA Disappears From List Of Federal Agencies With Fictitious Washington Licenses

Central Intelligence Agency

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 5:14 pm

Washington’s Department of Licensing has released a list of federal agencies that have received fictitious driver licenses for undercover operations. But the list made public Friday does not include the Central Intelligence Agency – even though the state agency previously acknowledged its work with CIA.

Read more
Pot Rules Opposed
7:27 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Pot Draft Rules Already Face Opposition

Washington’s proposed marijuana rules aren’t even 24-hours old. But already critics are finding things not to like. The 46-pages of draft regulations were released Thursday. They cover everything from where marijuana can be grown to the criminal backgrounds of license applicants. But it’s the section on marijuana concentrates that’s getting some negative buzz. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.


Read more
Marijuana Rulebook
4:46 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Draft Pot Rules Do Not Cap Grow Sizes Or Number Of Licenses

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 4:43 pm

Washington’s Liquor Control Board has published 46-pages of proposed rules for the state’s new recreational marijuana market. But the regulations released Thursday are largely silent on two major issues: the number of business licenses that will be allowed and the size of marijuana grow operations.

The draft rules address marijuana producers, processors and retailers. On the production side, the Liquor Control Board proposes to ban outdoor marijuana grows. Pot would have to be grown within a fully enclosed secure indoor facility or greenhouse.

Read more

Pages