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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New State Requirements
7:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Judge Sides Again With Washington Foster Youth

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 3:59 pm

A judge in Bellingham Monday ordered the state of Washington to do more to locate foster children who run away.

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August Primary
7:42 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Washington's Mid-Term Elections Draw In More Than Nearly $33M So Far

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 4:53 pm

Washington’s August primary is less than a month away -- August 5. It’s a mid-term election year with no statewide offices on the ballot. Even so, already nearly $33 million have been contributed to campaigns.

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Guns
7:41 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Sides With Boyfriend In School Backpack Shooting

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 2:49 pm

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday a Washington man whose loaded gun went off in a school backpack critically injuring a student can’t be charged with third-degree assault.

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Economic Recovery
8:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Washington Jobless Rate At 6-Year Low, But Rural Counties Lag

King County is leading the job recovery in Washington state.

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 4:41 pm

According to the June jobs report released Wednesday, Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to 5.8 percent -- the lowest level in six years.

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Incarceration
7:27 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Long Sentences, Aging Inmates May Strain Washington's Clemency System

Members of the public raise their hands in support of a commutation for a three-strikes offender at a recent meeting of Washington's Clemency and Pardons Board.

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 6:08 pm

In just a few years, Washington will need another 1,000 prison beds. There’s been talk of building a new state lock-up, but that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when the Supreme Court has said school funding must be the priority.

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Government
7:25 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Poll Finds Washington Gun Rights Initiative Losing Support

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:19 am

A new Elway Poll out Tuesday shows support for a gun rights measure on Washington’s fall ballot is flagging. Meanwhile, a dueling measure that would expand background checks remains popular.

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Flight
7:51 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Moses Lake Selected As Test Flight Location For Mitsubishi Regional Jet

Japan-based Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has announced plans to test its new regional jet in Moses Lake, Washington.

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 3:02 pm

It won’t just be Boeing jetliners flying lumbering test patterns over Moses Lake, Washington. Japan-based Mitsubishi Aircraft announced Monday it has selected Grant County International Airport as its U.S. test flight center to test its new 70 to 90 passenger regional jet. The test flights could start in the fall of 2015.

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Wildfires
7:51 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Weekend Lightning Could Lead To 'Sleeper' Fires

Firefighters along Highway 97A are battling the Mills Canyon fire in central Washington state.

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 4:22 pm

Wildfires continue to rage around the Northwest. and forecasters say weather conditions are ripe for more fires to develop in the coming days. 

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Courts
7:23 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Says 'Stop And Frisk' Went Too Far

File photo of the Washington Supreme Court chambers.

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 4:25 pm

Police in Washington can “stop and frisk” individuals they have specific reason to believe may be armed. But if that search goes beyond a “brief and nonintrusive” search, then it’s unconstitutional.

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Marijuana
7:45 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Amid Fanfare, Pot Stores Open Around Washington State

Taunya Harris, is a "cannabis coach" for Altitude pot store in Prosser, Washington. She showed of a container that customers can sniff and see the buds to choose their favorite strain.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 6:58 pm

Washington’s recreational marijuana market is open for business. From Seattle to Bellingham to Prosser, marijuana stores opened for business Tuesday to excited customers who lined up, dressed up and celebrated the end of pot prohibition.

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Marijuana
6:43 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Would-Be Customers Eagerly Await Pot Store Openings

Rick Stevens stopped by 420 Carpenter, a marijuana retail location in Lacey, Washington, to see if it was open yet. The retired TSA worker is looking forward to making some homemade edibles and listening to Pink Floyd.

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 5:05 pm

The first legal marijuana stores in Washington are scheduled to open Tuesday. The Liquor Control Board issued the first 24 retail licenses early Monday.

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Marijuana
7:42 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Legal Pot Prices May Be High To Start

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 4:16 pm

Marijuana users may pay some high prices to get high when Washington state’s legal pot market launches next week . The initial price-per-gram could be nearly double what medical marijuana card-holders pay.

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Corrections
7:42 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Washington Prisons Will No Longer Punish Inmates For 'Self-Harm'

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 3:27 pm

Washington’s prison system has announced a major policy change when it comes to inmates who harm themselves. The Department of Corrections said Thursday that it will no longer sanction inmates for cutting or other acts of self-injury.

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Pot Shops
7:30 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Washington Plans To Issue 20 Marijuana Retail Licenses Monday

File photo of an indoor marijuana grow

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:00 pm

The Washington State Liquor Control Board plans to issue about 20 marijuana retail licenses on July 7. The first pot stores could open the next day -- after a 24-hour waiting period. But the state cautions many stores may not be ready yet for customers and marijuana could be in short supply.

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NPR Story
7:58 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Washington Voters May Decide Class Size, Money In Politics Measures

File photo of initiative promoter Tim Eyman (right) unloading boxes of petitions for a ballot measure.

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 3:07 pm

July 3 is the deadline for initiative sponsors in Washington and Oregon to submit their petitions to qualify for the November election. Pot legalization and GMO-labeling are among the issues likely to make the ballot in Oregon. In Washington, it’s guns, money and class-size.

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