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."

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Firearms
9:59 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Online Gun Exchange To Launch On Eve Of Washington Gun Hearings

File photo. An online firearms marketplace opens for business in Washington on Monday.
M Glasgow Flickr

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 10:50 am

Starting Monday, Washington gun owners will have a new place to sell their firearms. That’s when a website called Washington Gun Exchange plans to launch.

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Politics
9:08 am
Fri January 24, 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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Advocacy Groups
9:46 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Wealthy Donors Fund Never-Ending 'Progressive' Campaign In Washington State

Staff at Fuse Washington meet to update their communications and community organizing efforts.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 9:02 am

You’ve heard of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and other issue advocacy groups that don’t have to disclose their donors. They are transforming American politics.

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Politics
10:09 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Minimum Wage Fight May Heat Up In Olympia

Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 5:18 am

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.

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Medical Cannabis
9:11 am
Thu January 16, 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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Politics
9:01 am
Wed January 15, 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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State Senate Shakeup
9:15 am
Mon January 13, 2014

2014 Elections Will Loom Over Washington Legislative Session

Art Boruck with Boruck Printing and Screening in Seattle has been making political signs for more than 40 years.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 9:15 am

Washington lawmakers convene Monday for what could prove to be the most partisan session in a decade.

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Retirement
10:04 am
Thu January 9, 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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2014 Ballot
9:37 am
Tue January 7, 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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'Criminal Mischief'
9:22 am
Thu December 26, 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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Sobriety Tests
9:21 am
Thu December 26, 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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Prisons
8:01 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Recruiting Prison Health Care Workers Could Get Harder Under Affordable Care Act

Eric Larsen is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner for the Washington Department of Corrections.
Eric Hernandez Washington Dept. of Corrections

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 9:21 am

It’s no easy task to find doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to take a job in a prison. The stigma alone is a major barrier. Not to mention concerns about personal safety.

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Transportation Budget
10:02 am
Fri December 20, 2013

No Deal On Washington Gas Tax Package, Talks To Resume In January

Governor Jay Inslee has a light moment with transportation co-chair Senator Curtis King, R-Yakima after announcing there is no deal on a gas tax package.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 7:50 am

Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s hopes for a gas tax package agreement before the end of the year have been dashed.

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Economy
10:02 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Governor Inslee Says Time For Statewide Minimum Wage Discussion

File photo of Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Christina Salerno TVW

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:02 am

 Washington Governor Jay Inslee says it’s time for a discussion on raising the state’s minimum wage - already the nation's highest.

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Legislature
7:17 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Inslee Proposes More Prison Beds, No Teacher COLAs In Budget Update

Members of the Washington Education Association wore these buttons to Governor Jay Inslee’s supplemental budget rollout to signify five years without voter-approved cost-of-living increases.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:01 am

More prison beds, but no cost of living raises for school teachers are two takeaways after Washington Governor Jay Inslee proposed a modest update to the state’s two-year budget.

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