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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Tax Exemptions
4:52 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Washington Governor Makes Another Push To Close Tax Exemptions

File photo of Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Christina Salerno TVW

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 4:48 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee continued his push on Tuesday for lawmakers to close tax exemptions to fund education.

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Gun Background Checks
4:21 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Giffords Urges Lawmakers To 'Fight, Fight, Fight' For Background Checks

File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building
Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 4:05 pm

She was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona in 2011. Tuesday former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords testified in Olympia in support of Initiative 594.

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Social Investment Bonds
4:59 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Washington Considers Private Investment Bonds To Address Social Problems

A view of Rikers Island in New York, United States from the air. LaGuardia Airport can be seen in the background.
Cdogsimmons Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 4:51 pm

Someday in the not too distant future social service programs in the Northwest could get funding from Wall Street.

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Minimum Wage
4:49 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Washington House Democrats Propose $12 Minimum Wage

File photo of the House Chamber at the Washington state Capitol in Olympia
Cacophony

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 4:33 pm

Washington’s minimum wage would rise to $12 per hour by 2017 under a proposal from Democrats in the state House.

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Minimum Wage
6:53 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Minimum Wage Fight May Heat Up In Olympia

Credit Wikipedia

The battle over Washington’s minimum wage could soon heat up at the Capitol. House Democrats may roll out a proposal as early as this week to increase the state’s base wage. It’s currently the highest in the nation at $9.32 an hour. But our Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins says don’t expect the measure to pass this year.

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Marijuana Regulations
4:02 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Medical Marijuana Patients Denounce Proposed Plant Limits, Patient Registry

File photo of a of a cannabis plant.
Cannabis Training University Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:54 pm

One of the hottest topics before the Washington legislature this year is how to regulate the medical marijuana marketplace.

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Inslee Speech Highlights
4:33 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Washington Governor Calls For Higher Minimum Wage, Teacher COLAs

Members of the Washington legislature and guests in the gallery stand for the Washington State Patrol Honor Guard prior to Governor Jay Inslee’s State of the State address.
Taylor Winkel Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:30 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee introduced key policy proposals in his State of the State speech Tuesday. 

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Legislative Session
4:21 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Washington Legislature Convenes With Election Year Issues On Agenda

File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building
Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 4:00 pm

The political divide is already on display in the Washington state capitol as lawmakers convened for their 60-day election year session.

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Roads and Transit
4:40 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Inslee's Optimism May Not Be Enough For Gas Tax Package

Governor Jay Inslee speaks at a legislative preview forum in Olympia hosted by the Associated Press.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 4:35 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he will continue to push for a gas tax package in the 60-day session that starts Monday. But a key transportation leader in the State Senate signaled Thursday that prospects for a deal may be dimming.

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NPR Story
6:31 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Washington Senator Proposes End To Pensions For Elected Officials

Washington state Senator John Braun
Washington Legislature

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:55 pm

A Washington state senator says if 401(k)s are good enough for Boeing machinists, they should be good enough for those who hold elected office.

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