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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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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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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