Austin Jenkins

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."

In January, the Washington state Senate adopted a rule requiring that new taxes pass the Senate by a two-thirds vote. Monday Lt. Governor Brad Owen tossed it out.

Owen said the super majority threshold runs afoul of the state constitution. Owen pointed to a 2013 Washington Supreme Court ruling that overturned a voter-approved super majority requirement for tax hikes.

The Republican-led Washington Senate Monday approved a nearly 12-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase phased in over three years.

Washington lawmakers are approaching the halfway mark of their 105-day session. Hot issues include marijuana, mental health, oil trains and cap-and-trade.

Washington lawmakers are in contempt of court over school funding. But it’s a couple of non-funding issues that could create a partisan rift.

Washington state lawmakers are more than a third of the way through their 105-day legislative session.

Washington lawmakers are considering whether to beef up oversight of the “party bus” industry. At a public hearing Monday, the head of the state agency that regulates in-state bus lines said it’s a matter of safety.

Cylvia Hayes attended meetings with Washington state officials in her capacity as First Lady of Oregon.

If you ordered flowers for Valentine’s Day, do you know where the company that took your order is located? A proposal in the Washington legislature would beef up an existing law that prohibits florists from misrepresenting their location.

A bipartisan group of Washington state senators is backing an 11.7 cent gas tax increase over three years.

Washington is under court order to keep foster youth from running away. So the state now has a team of “locators”--social workers whose job it is to find runaways and bring them back.

Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services now has a team of social workers whose sole job is to find foster youth who run away.

Rural Thurston County, Washington, is the kind of place people move to for a little elbow room. But if you’re a teenager from the suburbs, life can be less than exciting.

Three Washington state senators received a boost in their per diem last month, despite previously saying they wouldn’t take a raise in their daily allowance.

Washington lawmakers are considering whether to exempt amateur athletes from state labor laws.

From a proposed “stand your ground” law to a proposal to make it a crime to unsafely store a gun, gun rights and gun control measures abound in the Washington legislature this year.

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