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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Mentally Ill Youth
6:50 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Wash. Lawmaker Pushes ‘Evidence-Based’ Treatments For Mentally Ill Youth

Washington State Representative Mary Lou Dickerson
Photo Source: Washington State Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. – “Talk therapy” may work in some cases. But a Washington state lawmaker says it’s time to invest in evidence-based programs to treat mentally ill youth. This past fall we brought you a series of stories on failures in how the Northwest treats young people with serious mental health issues. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update from Olympia.

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Out of Pocket Medical Cap
6:16 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Cap On Out-Of-Pocket Medical Expenses Clears Wash. Committee

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Out-of-pocket medical expenses are crushing some Washington families – even though they have health insurance. A key legislative committee voted Thursday to place an overall cap on how much a family would have to pay each year.

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Washington Gay Marriage
6:04 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Wash. Senate Votes To Approve Same-Sex Marriage

Richard Cannon and Richard Bullock have been together nearly 25 years, and watched the gay marriage vote from the Senate gallery.
Photo Credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, WASH. – The battle to allow gay marriage in Washington has cleared a major hurdle. The Washington state Senate voted [last night] Wednesday night to approve same-sex marriage. The vote was 28 to 21. Four Republicans voting with the majority. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins was there for the historic debate.

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Washington Gay Marriage
5:53 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Gay Marriage Passes Wash. Senate After Civil Debate

Gay rights supporters applaud after the Washington senate votes to approve same-sex marriage.
Photo Credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Four Washington Republicans joined majority Democrats Wednesday night to approve a same-sex marriage bill in the state Senate. The historic vote represents a major step forward for gay rights supporters. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins was there for the debate.

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Washington Gay Marriage
6:23 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Gay Marriage Laws May Prevent Discrimination by Private Businesses

The Washington Legislature votes on legalizing gay marriage this week.
Wikimedia Commons

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington appears poised to become the seventh state in the nation to allow gay marriage. Backers say they have the votes in the legislature. The law would exempt churches that oppose same-sex marriage. But not wedding-related businesses. Attorney Steve O’Ban highlighted this recently in testimony against the proposed law.

Steve O’Ban: “There’s no protection either for a small businesswoman for example who runs say a photography business or a printing company to decline to photograph or, say, print a wedding announcements for gay weddings, for reasons of faith.”

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State Employment
6:00 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Laid-Off, Then Hired Back By The State

Keri-Anne Jetzer Lost Her Job As A State Researcher, But Then Was Hired Back In A Different Position
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The number of people who are out of work in Washington is falling. It’s a sign the economy is recovering – albeit slowly. But it’s only been in the last two months that the government sector has started hiring again. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins profiles one person who lost her state job, but found another one.

Keri-Anne Jetzer’s low point came last year when she lost her job as a researcher for Washington’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

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Same-Sex Marriage
1:57 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Gay Marriage One Vote Shy In Washington State Senate

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Supporters and opponents of gay marriage plan to descend on Washington’s capitol on Monday . That’s when House and Senate committees are scheduled to take public testimony on legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. It now appears sponsors in the state Senate are just one vote shy of passage.

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Our Northwest Economy
1:35 pm
Tue March 30, 2010

Wash. Corrections Secretary Demands Changes To Parolee Compact

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Washington's Secretary of Corrections will make the case Wednesday for permanent changes to the interstate compact on parolees. This stems from the murders of four Lakewood police officers last November by Arkansas parolee Maurice Clemmons.

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Our Northwest Economy
1:38 pm
Fri March 26, 2010

Washington: New Cell Phone Ban Takes Effect June 10th

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Starting June 10th, police officers in Washington will be able to pull over drivers who've got a cell phone pressed to their ear. Same goes for people who text while behind the wheel. Governor Chris Gregoire [today] Friday signed legislation making it a primary offense.

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