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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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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Fireworks
7:59 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Shows Go On For Northwest Fireworks Company 'Shaken' By Workplace Death

Ken Julian of Entertainment Fireworks stands near where a memorial will go for his friend and employee Bill Hill.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 8:31 am

People in the fireworks business say their job is to make people happy. But as the Fourth of July approaches, Entertainment Fireworks in Tenino, Washington, one of the largest fireworks companies in the Northwest, is reeling.

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Minimum Wage
6:51 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Washington Supreme Court To Hear Sea-Tac Airport Minimum Wage Fight

File photo of the main terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 11:01 am

Should SeaTac’s voter-approved $15 per hour minimum wage apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport? Washington’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on that question Thursday.

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Prison Reform
7:09 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Inslee Launches Review Of Prison Population Growth

Governor Jay Inslee meets with his newly-appointed Justice Reinvestment taskforce.

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 8:06 am

Washington state’s prison system is projected to need 1,000 new beds by 2018. And that growth has Governor Jay Inslee concerned.

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Military
7:43 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Death Of Northwest Soldier In California Puts Army Training Accidents In Spotlight

Private First Class Andrew Sass was killed in a training incident at Ft. Irwin, California.

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 2:53 pm

The death of a soldier based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord over the weekend highlights the danger of training for war. Private First Class Andrew Sass was killed Saturday in an incident at the National Training Center in California.

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Budget
8:17 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Washington Governor Directs Agencies To Identify 15 Percent Cuts

File photo of the Washington State Capitol in Olympia.

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 4:30 pm

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is directing state agencies to identify 15 percent cuts in the next budget. The directive comes as the latest revenue forecast out Tuesday shows an ongoing sluggish recovery.

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Get Out And Hide
9:33 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Washington Capitol Employees Train For Active Shooter Scenarios

About 50 state legislative and executive branch employees showed up for a lunch hour training on how to respond to an active shooter.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 11:22 am

Get out. Hide out. Take out. That’s the lesson employees at the Washington state Capitol got Wednesday in a class on active shooters. The refresher course comes in the wake of recent high profile shootings in the Northwest.

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Courts
9:32 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Orders State To Contempt Hearing

Inside Washington state Supreme Court chambers.
Washington Supreme Court

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 9:47 pm

A frustrated Washington Supreme Court appears ready to hold state officials in contempt.

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Courts
7:50 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Dozens Of Oso Slide Legal Claims Filed Against Washington

A view of the slope where the Oso landslide took place. (File photo)
Snohomish County Flickr

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 5:49 pm

The deadly Oso landslide in March has resulted in a blizzard of legal claims against the state of Washington.

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200 New Laws
7:50 am
Tue June 10, 2014

New Washington Laws Cover College Aid, Guns, Tanning

The Washington state capitol building.
Cacophony Wikimedia

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 4:53 pm

This is the week undocumented students in Washington will become eligible for state college tuition aid. The Real Hope Act is just one of dozens of new state laws that take effect Thursday, 90 days after the Washington Legislature adjourned.

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Prison Reform
8:23 am
Mon June 9, 2014

As Washington Prisons Crowd, Could Some 'Lifers' Get A Second Look?

In 2009, three-strikes offender Stevan Dozier was granted clemency. He stands in front of a mural at King County Juvenile Court that reads “never lose hope.”

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 3:51 pm

Stevan Dozier's crimes were violent purse snatchings. The final time, he hit his 69-year old victim in the face, knocked her to the ground and stole her wallet. As a result, Dozier was one of the first to be sentenced under the voter-approved "three strikes" law back in 1994.

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Oil Trains
8:23 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Despite Confidentiality Concerns, BNSF Will Report Oil Shipments To States

File photo of a BNSF locomotive pulling a shipment of crude oil

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 4:14 pm

BNSF Railway said Friday it will comply with Saturday's federal deadline to provide states with information about the frequency and routes of oil trains from North Dakota and Montana.

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Health Care
11:12 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Washington AG Puts Health Plans On Notice To Cover Same-Sex Spouses

File photo of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 2:58 pm

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is reminding employers they may not discriminate against same-sex spouses when it comes to health coverage.

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Climbing
12:54 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Names And Details Emerge About Mount Rainier Accident Victims

File photo of Mount Rainier

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:14 am

Alpine Ascents International Monday released the name of the second company guide who was killed in this weekend’s climbing tragedy on Mount Rainier. His name was Eitan Green, a Colby College graduate from the Boston area. He was based in Seattle and had guided for Alpine Ascents since 2009.

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