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. 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. In 2019, he received his Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington Communication Leadership program. 

Austin's 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 was part of a team that won a 2018 national Edward R. Murrow award for breaking news coverage.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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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