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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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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Wash. Pensions
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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NW Initiatives
4:07 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Washington Initiative Promoter Files Measure To Resurrect Anti-Tax Rule

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman has a plan to resurrect the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases in Washington
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 3:06 pm

Washington initiative promoter Tim Eyman kicked off the New Year with a new ballot proposal.

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New 2014 Laws
4:11 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

New Laws In Washington: Rioting Gets Name Change, Seahawks Fandom Licensed

November 1999 photo of WTO protests in Seattle.
Isabel Esterman Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 12:36 pm

After January 1, rioting will still be a crime in Washington. But it will get a new name. And Seahawks fans will have a new way to show their loyalty to the team.

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DUI
4:07 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

New Year Brings Sobriety Testing For Repeat Drunk Drivers

Officer Durbin of the Portland Police Department tests volunteer Jennifer Van Vleet for blood alcohol level in this 2009 file photo.
Oregon Department of Transportation

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 12:59 pm

Repeat drunk drivers in Washington who get arrested in the New Year may find themselves ordered to blow into a breathalyzer twice a day.

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Washington Lobbyists
4:42 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Free Meal Complaint Against Lawmakers Dismissed, 'Serious Concerns' Remain

Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:54 pm

An ethics panel in Washington has ruled that five Republican state senators did not violate Washington ethics law when they accepted dozens of free meals from lobbyists earlier this year.

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