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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Background Checks
4:52 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Washington And Oregon Lawmakers Eye Universal Background Gun Checks

A Ruger 9mm pistol.
Credit Robert Nelson / Flickr

Democratic lawmakers in both Washington and Oregon are working on measures to require background checks for all gun sales. A universal check proposal was introduced Wednesday in the Washington House. A similar bill is expected in the Oregon Senate soon.

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NPR Story
4:45 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Washington And Oregon Lawmakers Eye Universal Background Gun Checks

Robert Nelson Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:33 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democratic lawmakers in both Washington and Oregon are working on measures to require background checks for all gun sales. A universal check proposal was introduced Wednesday in the Washington House. A similar bill is expected in the Oregon Senate soon.

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Education Reform
5:50 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Reform Vs. Funding: Battle Shaping Up In Washington Legislature

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, second from right, says education reforms must come before additional funding.
Credit Northwest News Network

One of the key battles shaping up in Olympia this year is over education reform. The Senate’s new majority coalition is proposing a series of measures aimed at getting better results in the classroom. Among the ideas: a state takeover of failing schools.

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Legal Marijuana
5:07 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Washington Governor Says Pot Legalization Must Inspire “Confidence”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state must prove to the Obama administration that it can create a well-regulated marijuana market.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the eyes of the nation will be on the state as it creates a legal marijuana market over the next year. The new governor said Thursday that along with legalization comes the expectation that illegal pot production and sales will mostly end.

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Marijuana Forum
5:51 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Washington Pot Forum Draws Standing Room Crowd

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 4:09 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. –The first public forum on how to implement Washington’s new marijuana law drew a capacity crowd Tuesday night in Olympia. The state’s Liquor Control Board is seeking input as it writes the rules for enacting Initiative 502 – Washington’s new pot legalization law.

They arrived early and in droves – the smell of marijuana clung in the air. First in line to get a seat for the forum was Leslie Tikka of Olympia. She mainly came to see a bit of history in the making.

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Leaked Senate Report
4:07 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Democrats In Washington Senate Slam Majority For Leak Investigation

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 4:00 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The partisan fallout continues in the Washington state Senate over its response to how a controversial Republican senator treats staff. Minority Democrats took to the Senate floor Wednesday to accuse the new majority of caring more about who leaked a report about Senator Pam Roach than creating a safe workplace.

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NPR Story
7:24 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Armed Gun Rights Advocates Rally At Northwest Capitols

Austin Jenkins

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 4:18 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Several hundred gun rights advocates – many of them armed – rallied at the Washington state Capitol Saturday. Their purpose was to protest any new gun control measures. Similar rallies were organized in Salem, Boise and Coeur d'Alene as part of the national 2nd Amendment event, Guns Across America.

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Response To Inaugural Speech
6:29 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Social Issues In Inaugural Speech Rub Republicans Wrong Way

Washington’s new governor touched a nerve with some Republicans in his inaugural address. On the topic of abortion Democrat Jay Inslee called on the legislature to pass the so-called Reproductive Parity Act. It would require health insurers that cover maternity services to also pay for abortions.

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New Washington Governor
6:26 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Inslee Takes Oath Of Office

Washington officially has a new governor. In a ceremony in Olympia Wednesday, Democrat Jay Inslee took the oath of office.

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Wash. Governor Inauguration
6:22 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Governor Inslee Delivers Inaugural Address

Democrat Jay Inslee takes the oath of office in a first-in-history ceremony in the capitol rotunda.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Democrat Jay Inslee took the oath of office as Washington's 23rd governor in a first-in-history Capitol Rotunda ceremony Wednesday morning. Inslee, a former Congressman and state lawmaker, was joined by his wife Trudi, his grown children and grandchildren.

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