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. Republican Caucus Preview
6:00 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Wash. GOP Caucus Results 'Meaningless' Says Former Party Chair

Former state Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance.
Photo via Twitter

G.O.P. presidential candidates are looking for a boost from Washington’s caucuses this Saturday. It’s the last contest before Super Tuesday. But as one longtime party insider cautions, there won’t be any real winner this weekend.

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Stealth Bills
4:51 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Wash. Legislature: As Pace Picks Up, Complaints About Lack Of Transparency

Washington State Capital Legislative Building. The legislature is moving bills behind the scenes to get bills through quickly near the end of it's session.
Creative Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – An insider’s game. That’s how open government advocates describe the Washington legislature as it heads into its final days. They complain of last minute public hearings, so-called “ghost bills” with only a title and no details, and quick votes on deals negotiated behind-the-scenes. These shortcuts save time. But critics say they effectively shut the public out of the process.

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Washington Budget Balance
4:15 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Wash. Senate Democrats Defend Delayed Payment To Re-Balance Budget

Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Photo credit: Wikimedia user Jay8g Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are hurtling toward a deadline to adjourn next Thursday. Majority Democrats still have to agree on a plan to re-balance the state budget. Tuesday, Senate Democrats unveiled a blueprint that includes a controversial move: paying a couple of bills a day late.

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Wash. Budget
3:59 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Wash. Senate Budget Rollout Won’t Be A Bipartisan Affair

Washington Senate members differ over budget.
Photo by: Wikuservisitor7 Wikimedia commons

In the Washington state Senate, a short-lived era of bipartisan cooperation on the budget appears over. Majority Democrats Tuesday will unveil their plan to rebalance the budget. But Republican leaders say they won’t be there.

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Washington Supermajority Rule
7:41 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Wash. Democratic Lawmakers Seek To Overturn Supermajority For Taxes

Washington Representative Laurie Jinkins' official photo.
Photo courtesy Washington State Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington voters consistently send Democratic majorities to the statehouse. But four times over the past 20 years they’ve also voted to require a supermajority of the legislature to raise taxes. Most recently, in 2010. Now a group of Democratic lawmakers and their allies are challenging the constitutionality of that two-thirds rule. Oral arguments are scheduled for March 9th. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins previews the case.

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Gingrich in Olympia
3:36 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Newt Gingrich Talks Gay Marriage On Stop At Wash. Capitol

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks with statehouse reporters in Olympia, Wash.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he opposes gay marriage, but is comfortable letting voters decide the issue for their own state. Gingrich made his comments Friday during a visit to the Washington capitol. It’s the second time in two weeks a Republican presidential candidate has campaigned under the dome.

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Welfare
4:35 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Wash. Lawmakers Urge DSHS To Drive Down ATM Fees

ATM fees drive up welfare costs.
Photo credit: Nenyedi Wikimedia commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers wants JPMorgan Chase to lower the ATM fee it charges cash welfare recipients. Currently these low- income clients pay 85-cents each time they withdraw cash. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports on how the fees add up.

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Washington Budget Cuts
5:45 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Public Health Official: More State Cuts Could Delay Disease Warnings

Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Photo credit: Wikimedia User Visitor7 Wikimedia Commons

WaOLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington legislature has three weeks to rebalance the state budget. One way House Democrats propose to do that is to eliminate a series of payments that currently go to cities and counties. That proposal emerged Tuesday. Reaction from local governments was swift.

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Financial Proposal
5:08 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Wash. House Democrats Roll Out Budget; No General Tax Increase

Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Photo credit: Wikimedia User Jay8g Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Majority Democrats in the Washington state House have unveiled a plan to rebalance the state’s budget. The spending blueprint released Tuesday does not call for a general tax increase. But it would delay a massive payment to public schools. It also relies on savings from reduced demand for state services.

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Marriage Equality Law
6:08 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

'Who Signed' Posts R-71 Petition Signers Online

Who Signed is one of the organizations that posted names of signers of petition R-71.
Photo courtesy of Whosigned.org

MarriAs promised, gay rights activists have posted the names and addresses of more than 100,000 Washington voters in an online searchable database. These voters signed petitions in 2009 to repeal Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law.

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