Olympia Correspondent

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. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Recent Articles


Education Spending In Focus As Washington Legislature Nears Halfway Mark

Northwest News Network | Feb. 26, 2015 3:47 p.m.

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


Controversial School Reforms Could Complicate Funding Debate In Washington State

Northwest News Network | Feb. 23, 2015 4:01 p.m.

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.


Bills In Washington Legislature Hit First Do-Or-Die Deadline

Northwest News Network | Feb. 23, 2015 8:20 a.m.

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


Adoptive Parents Of Severely Abused Boy Testify For 'Aiden's Law'

Northwest News Network | Feb. 17, 2015 4:08 p.m.

The case of an infant who nearly died from severe abuse has captured the attention of Washington lawmakers. The child's adoptive parents testified...


Oregon First Lady Had Dealings With Washington Officials

Northwest News Network | Feb. 17, 2015 10:01 a.m.

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


Washington Lawmakers Consider 'Party Bus' Safety

Northwest News Network | Feb. 17, 2015 6:50 a.m.

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...


Local Flower Shops Push For Expanded 'Truth In Location' Law

Northwest News Network | Feb. 13, 2015 3:06 p.m.

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...


Washington Senators Propose 11.7 Cent Gas Tax Increase For Roads

Northwest News Network | Feb. 12, 2015 5:31 p.m.

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


One Way To Reduce Foster Runaways: Have Fewer Foster Teens

Northwest News Network | Feb. 12, 2015 3:24 p.m.

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.


The 'Locator': Tracking Foster Runaways In Washington

Northwest News Network | Feb. 12, 2015 9:50 a.m.

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...


Life As A Foster Runaway: Drugs, Danger And Pregnancy

Northwest News Network | Feb. 11, 2015 5:38 p.m.

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...


Wash. State Senators Receive Higher Per Diem After Blasting 2014 Hike

Northwest News Network | Feb. 11, 2015 5:37 p.m.

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...


Washington Lawmakers Consider Exempting Amateur Athletes From Labor Laws

Northwest News Network | Feb. 10, 2015 5:06 p.m.

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


Gun-Related Measures Abound In Washington Legislature

Northwest News Network | Feb. 9, 2015 3:55 p.m.

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...


'Will Not Comply' Gun Show Planned In Yakima Area

Northwest News Network | Feb. 6, 2015 4:46 p.m.

We've seen rallies and demonstrations against Washington's new voter-approved background check law. But now a gun rights group is planning a "we will...


Critics Assail Proposal To Allow Limited Psychiatric Boarding In Washington

Northwest News Network | Feb. 3, 2015 2:58 p.m.

Mental health advocates in Washington are assailing a proposal to allow psychiatric boarding in limited cases.


Politics Swirl Around Labor-Backed Minimum Wage, Sick Leave Policies

Northwest News Network | Feb. 2, 2015 3:32 p.m.

Paid sick leave and a boost in the minimum wage are among the top priorities of organized labor in Washington state this year.


Seahawks Fans Mark 'Moment Of Loudness' On Washington Capitol Steps

Northwest News Network | Jan. 30, 2015 3:24 p.m.

It was no "Beast Quake," but Seahawks fans at the Washington state Capitol celebrated a "moment of loudness" Friday for the team.


Washington Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Fantasy Sports

Northwest News Network | Jan. 30, 2015 2:52 p.m.

On the eve of the Super Bowl, Washington state lawmakers are considering whether to legalize fantasy sports contests.


Republican Transportation Leader Eyeing 11.5 Cent Gas Tax Increase

Northwest News Network | Jan. 29, 2015 5:34 p.m.

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