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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NPR Story
5:05 pm
Mon July 7, 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.

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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NPR Story
4:02 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Not Much Pot, But So What? Washington Kicks Off Marijuana Sales

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 2:48 pm

In another significant milestone in Washington’s experiment with legal, recreational marijuana, the first 24 pot retailers in Washington now have their licenses in hand.

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NPR Story
4:16 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Legal Pot Prices May Be High To Start

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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NPR Story
3:27 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

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

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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NPR Story
5:00 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Washington Plans To Issue 20 Marijuana Retail Licenses Monday

File photo of an indoor marijuana grow

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
3:07 pm
Tue July 1, 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.

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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NPR Story
8:31 am
Fri June 27, 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

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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NPR Story
4:47 pm
Wed June 25, 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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NPR Story
5:23 pm
Tue June 24, 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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NPR Story
4:30 pm
Mon June 23, 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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