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. 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. His 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. Austin is the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Journalism Award from the Washington State Association for Justice.

Ways to Connect

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Will he or won’t he? That’s the question as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee faces immense pressure to veto a bill that exempts the Legislature from the state’s Public Records Act. Inslee has until midnight Thursday to decide.

The issue has galvanized the public. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Inslee’s office said it had received more than 8,000 emails and over 4,000 calls. The governor’s staff called the volume “unprecedented.”

Jon Connell / Flickr -

The Washington Legislature has sent a ban on bump stocks to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. A bump stock is a trigger modification device that make a semi-automatic rifle function more like an automatic weapon.

Washington Legislature

As a politician, Washington state Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma says he’s in the business of getting to know people and networking. As a 34-year-old unmarried man, the Democrat says he sometimes tries to date within political circles because those are people who understand his life best.


In the space of 20 minutes Friday, Washington lawmakers voted to exempt themselves from the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act. The Senate first passed the bill and then sent it to the House where it was immediately taken up.

Brianhe / Wikimedia -

Washington lawmakers are fast-tracking a bill to exempt themselves from the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act. The move comes after the Legislature lost a public records lawsuit filed by several news outlets, including public radio. That lawsuit is now on appeal. 

Washington Legislature

An allegation against Washington state Rep. David Sawyer of Tacoma has led House Democrats to restrict his contact with staff.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is reiterating his call for state lawmakers to pass a series of what he calls “common sense” gun control measures. The Democrat made his comments Wednesday in response to the Florida school shooting.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington House Democrats on Tuesday proposed nearly $1 billion in short-term property tax relief, followed by a longer-term tax cut funded by a new state capital gains tax on a minority of wealthier residents.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In recent years, Washington state has led the nation in locking up kids for running away, skipping school and other non-criminal behavior. Now state lawmakers are considering whether to ban juvenile detention for "status offenses".

Washington Legislature

The chief budget writer in the Washington state House of Representatives says it’s up to Democratic leaders whether he keeps his chairmanship following a rollover crash and his arrest for drunk driving last Saturday.