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

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.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In a vote unprecedented in modern times in the state of Washington, the state Senate voted Wednesday to abolish the death penalty and instead impose life in prison without the possibility of parole for those convicted of aggravated first degree murder.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A fiery partisan battle has erupted in Olympia over a union-backed measure involving homecare workers. Underlying the fight is whether these workers should be able to opt out of their union.

The debate led to tense moments on the floor of the Washington Senate late Wednesday night.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Efforts to address sexual harassment in the Washington state Capitol have suffered a setback. Legislative leaders had pledged to improve the workplace climate following reports late last year that revealed a history of misconduct at the Capitol. But finding a solution has proven more difficult than expected.

Washington Department of Licensing

This story has been updated.

A batch of late-arriving ballots is going out to nearly 7,000 Washington voters in advance of next Tuesday’s special election. That’s because of an error in the state’s Motor Voter system that allows people to register to vote when they get a drivers license.

Washington Legislature

Washington’s 60-day legislative session is approaching the halfway mark and majority Democrats are flexing their newfound one-party control of Olympia. That’s especially evident in the state Senate where several priority Democratic bills have been put on a fast track.

Dori / Wikimedia -

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling on state lawmakers to “step up” and pass a carbon tax this year. The Democrat made his comments Tuesday as the midpoint of the legislative session approaches.

Brianhe / Wikimedia -

The Washington state Senate has passed a ban on trigger modification devices known as bump stocks that allow semi-automatic firearms to operate more like automatic weapons.

The vote Thursday evening came in response to last October’s mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and left hundreds more injured.


Washington Department and Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Unsworth is resigning next month after three years on the job. He presided over a tumultuous time at the department.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Victims of sexual harassment are urging Washington lawmakers to take steps to make the workplace safer. At a public hearing Wednesday, lawmakers heard personal stories and a rare acknowledgment of past failures.