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. 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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Stop And Frisk Ruling
6:21 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Says ‘Stop And Frisk’ Went Too Far

File photo of the Washington Supreme Court chambers.
Credit Credit Cacophony / Wikimedia

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. That’s the finding of the Washington Supreme Court Thursday.

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Marijuana Legalization
6:58 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Pot Stores Open Around Washington

Marijuana retailers opened across the state Tuesday.
Credit Mark / Flickr

Washington’s recreational marijuana market is open for business. From Seattle to Bellingham to Prosser, marijuana stores opened for business Tuesday. Excited customers lined up, dressed up and celebrated the end of pot prohibition. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this wrap-up.

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Legal Marijuana Licenses
5:48 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Stores Before The Pot: Why The Rush To License Washington Marijuana Retailers?

Credit Cannabis Training University / Wikimedia

It’s 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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Washington Marijuana
6:54 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Legal Pot Prices May Be High To Start

Credit Carline Jean MCT / Landov

Marijuana users may pay some high prices to get high when Washington’s legal pot market launches the week of July 7. The initial price-per-gram could be nearly double what medical marijuana card-holders pay. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

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Marijuana Licenses
7:24 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Washington Plans To Issue About 20 Pot Retail Licenses Monday

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Washington’s Liquor Board plans to issue about 20 marijuana retail licenses next Monday, July 7th. 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. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update.

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Fireworks Accident
7:36 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Shows Go On For Northwest Fireworks Company ‘Shaken’ By Workplace Death

Brandon Weaver, right, and his fellow crew members pose in the back of a Budget rental truck. They say being back at work is helping them cope with the death of their co-worker.
Credit 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, one of the largest fireworks companies in the Northwest is reeling. This month, a longtime seasonal employee was killed in an on-the-job explosion and fire. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports on how the company and its employees are coping in the midst of their busiest season.

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Reimbursing Volunteer Drivers
11:19 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Why A Volunteer for DSHS Was Paid $10,000

Longtime foster youth Andre Fayette poses with his foster mother Mary-Jeanne Smith. For five years, a volunteer driver for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services shuttled Andre to visits with his biological sisters in Spokane.
Credit Photo courtesy: Mary-Jeanne Smith

Imagine driving your personal car for work so much that your boss cuts you a $10,000 mileage reimbursement check. That’s what happened recently at Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. Only the person who got the check isn’t an employee. And she’s not the only one who’s logging high miles and collecting large reimbursements from DSHS. Who are these road warriors? Austin Jenkins finds out.

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State In Contempt
7:20 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Washington Supreme Court Orders ‘State’ To Contempt Hearing

The interior of the Wasington State Supreme Court.
Credit Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

A frustrated Washington Supreme Court appears ready to hold state officials in contempt. The high court late Thursday ordered the “state” to appear at a hearing in September to address the lack of a plan to fully fund basic education. The court’s highly unusual move follows a 2012 ruling that the state isn’t meeting its constitutional obligation to school children. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.

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Same-Sex Health Coverage
7:45 am
Fri June 6, 2014

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

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Credit Photo courtesy Washington Attorney General's office

Washington’s attorney general is reminding employers they may not discriminate against same-sex spouses when it comes to health coverage. That warning Thursday follows a discrimination complaint earlier this year against O’Reilly Auto Parts. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

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Rainier Climbing Accident
7:45 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Recovery Of Climbing Victims Dependent On Many Factors

Recovering the bodies of climbers presumed dead on Mt. Rainier is still considered dangerous.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Family members of six climbers presumed dead on Mount Rainier met privately Sunday with park officials. The victims are two professional guides with Seattle-based Alpine Ascents and four clients. They were attempting to summit via the north-facing Liberty Ridge – one of the most technical and advanced routes on the 14,000-foot mountain. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

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