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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NPR Story
5:34 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Republican Transportation Leader Eyeing 11.5 Cent Gas Tax Increase

Kristen Steele Flickr

Gas prices have plummeted, but Washington’s gas tax could soon go up.

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NPR Story
4:51 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Washington Senator: It's Not Just Lobbyist-Paid Meals But 'Free Cigars, Free Booze'

Washington lawmakers may accept 12 free meals per year from lobbyists.
Robert S. Donovan Flickr

Nearly two years after public radio and the Associated Press investigated lobbyist-paid meals for Washington lawmakers, the issue is still a topic of discussion in the legislature.

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NPR Story
3:51 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Washington Lands Commissioner Loses PUD Right-Of-Way Battle

The washington Supreme Court ruled that public utility districts can string power lines through state trust lands.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Public utility districts in Washington have the right to place power lines through state trust lands. That was the decision from the Washington Supreme Court.

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NPR Story
8:12 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Proposed Washington Law Would Ban Holding Phone While Driving

A proposed law would outlaw holding a wireless communications device while driving in Washington state.
Intel Free Press Flickr

It’s long been against the law to text and drive in Washington, but the rules would get much stricter under a proposal introduced Wednesday in the legislature.

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NPR Story
5:40 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Washington Lawmaker Proposes Ban On Whale, Dolphin Performances

File photo
Robert Pittman NOAA

SeaWorld is famous for its choreographed dolphin and Orca whale performances. Now a Washington state lawmaker wants to make sure what happens at SeaWorld stays at SeaWorld.

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NPR Story
4:16 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Push To End Mandatory Arrest Of 16, 17-Year-Olds For Domestic Violence

Brianhe Wikimedia

When police are called to a report of domestic abuse, often someone goes to jail.

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NPR Story
3:38 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

King County Defends Juvenile Strip Searches In Detention

Brianhe Wikimedia

At the juvenile detention facility in King County, Washington, strip searches are common practice at intake for serious and violent offenders or those accused of a drug crime.

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NPR Story
4:47 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Lawmakers Proposed The Darndest Things

Wikimedia

It’s the end of week two of Washington’s legislative session. Already more than 1,200 bills have been introduced.

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NPR Story
8:21 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Dispensary Owner, Iraq Veteran Patient Both Wary Of Medical Marijuana Regulation

Patrick Seifert owns Rainier Xpress marijuana dispensary in Olympia. He supports regulation, but is concerned that proposals under consideration in the legislature could put him out of business.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 11:04 am

Thursday is Medical Cannabis Lobby Day at the Washington Capitol. State lawmakers say this is the year they will rein in the state’s “Wild West” medical pot industry.

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NPR Story
3:14 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Class Size Campaign Prepares To Do Battle With Washington Legislature

Colin Fogarty Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 7:32 am

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will ask the legislature to amend a new voter-approved class size measure. That was the word this week from the governor’s budget director.

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