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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Wash. State Budget
3:56 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Budget Chair: Total Shortfall = $2.76 Billion

Washington House of Representatives

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:23 pm

Governor-elect Jay Inslee and Washington lawmakers face a nearly $3B conundrum in the next two-year budget. That's the stark assessment of House Budget Chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

Hunter outlined the bigger-than-previously-reported budget gap in a PowerPoint slide presentation to fellow House Democrats at the start of two days of pre-session meetings at the Capitol.

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Internet Sales Tax
5:15 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Wash. Congressman Doubts Lame Duck Cyber Sales Tax Vote

The Washington Department of Revenue estimates state and local tax coffers will miss out on $1 billion over the next two years due to Internet sales.
Credit Gflores / Wikimedia Commons

Cyber Monday was expected to generate $1.5 billion in Internet sales nationwide. That’s great for online retailers, but not so good for tax coffers in states like Washington and Idaho. That’s because many cyber retailers still don’t collect sales tax. And Congress is unlikely to close that loophole anytime soon.

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Lakewood Shooting Anniversary
5:59 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Three Years Later, Former Officer Recalls Lakewood Shootings

Three years ago this Thanksgiving weekend, an Arkansas parolee named Maurice Clemmons shot and killed four Lakewood police officers in a coffee shop. Chris Sorrells was one of the first officers at the scene. In the years since, his life has changed dramatically.

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Wash. Legislative Races
5:40 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Philosophical Control Of Washington State Senate Hangs In Balance

Republican state Senator Don Benton (L) and Democratic challenger Tim Probst are separated by only 105 votes.
Credit Northwest News Network

Two southwest Washington legislative races are headed for hand recounts. They are that close. One of them could hand control of the Washington state Senate to a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats.

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Proposed Phone Line Fee
5:21 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Phone Companies Say Reception For Regulator Unrelated To Proposed Fee

Phil Jones, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commissioner, is a key backer of a proposal to impose a new Universal Service Fee on all phone lines in Washington.
Credit Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission website

You know all those fees and charges listed on your home or wireless phone bill? Well, rural telephone companies in Washington want to add one more: a state Universal Service Fee. Recently they co-sponsored a wine and beer reception for a key state regulator.

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Inslee Backing Marjiuana Law
4:05 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Inslee To Back Will Of Voters On Marijuana Legalization

Governor-elect Jay Inslee at a news conference in Seattle to announce his transition co-chairs.
Credit Austin Jenkins

Washington Governor-elect Jay Inslee says states are the incubators of new ideas – and that should extend to marijuana legalization. Inslee Wednesday said he’s hopeful Washington’s new recreational pot law can take effect without federal interference.

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Robert Bales Pretrial Hearing
4:37 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Pretrial Hearing For Staff Sgt. Bales Concludes

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales' wife Karilyn, middle, listens as her sister reads a family statement to reporters at the conclusion of the pretrial hearing.
Credit Austin Jenkins

A pretrial hearing for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has concluded at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Bales is the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians earlier this year – most of them young children. The defense is focused on Bales’ state of mind.

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Wash. Ballot Counting
3:58 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Vote Counting Slows As Wash. Counties Deal With Problem Ballots

Thurston County Election Manager Steve Homan monitors the ballot sorting machine.
Credit Austin Jenkins

Democrat Jay Inslee says he has a 95 percent chance of ultimately winning Washington’s race for governor. That’s based on an internal statistical analysis his campaign released Friday. But with hundreds of thousands of ballots still uncounted, Republican Rob McKenna is digging in for the long haul. Meanwhile, at county election offices the ballot counting is getting slower, not faster.

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Wash. Governor's Race
5:08 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Ballot Counting Continues As Wash. Governor’s Race Remains Undecided

Democrat Jay Inslee retains a narrow lead over Republican Rob McKenna in the Washington governor's race.
Credit Deborah Wang

Washington’s race for governor still hasn’t been called. Hundreds of thousands of ballots remain uncounted. A disproportionate number of those votes are in heavily Democratic King County, with nearly a third of the state’s electorate.

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McKenna Not Conceding Yet
4:38 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

McKenna Has Time, But Not Statistics On His Side In Wash. Governor’s Race

Republican Rob McKenna needs to gain a significant advantage among voters who waited to cast their ballots.
Credit Austin Jenkins

There are still three-quarters of a million ballots to be counted in Washington’s too-close-to-call governor’s race. Democrat Jay Inslee holds a narrow lead over Republican Rob McKenna.

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