Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage.  Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

Chris is a native of rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother's house, and grew up in a 230-year-old log cabin in the woods. Chris traces his interest in journalism to his childhood, when his parents threatened to take away his newspaper if he didn’t do his chores.

Oregonians could be getting a kicker when they file their taxes next year. State economists said Tuesday that revenues for the current budget cycle are on track to exceed projections by a wide enough margin to trigger Oregon's unique kicker law.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's Office/Flickr

The Federal Emergency Management Agency turned down a request by Oregon for relief funds to assist farmers and other people hard hit by winter storms.

The May revenue forecast is a critical piece of information for lawmakers as they decide how to spend taxpayer dollars during the next two-year budget cycle.

Supporters of a proposal to cover the medical costs of all Oregon children rallied at the state Capitol Friday. A pair of bills under consideration in Salem—HB 2726 and SB 558—would extend Oregon Health Plan coverage to include kids who are in the country illegally.

The Oregon Supreme Court will be majority female for the first time in the state's history starting next month. That distinction will come when Rebecca Duncan takes her seat next month.

The Oregon Department of Human Services will have a new director this fall. Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday that she's appointing the head of another state agency to take the helm at DHS.

Oregon lawmakers are expected to reveal details Monday of a proposed transportation funding package. The initial roll-out will almost certainly be a first draft. The final version, if approved, will reflect a dizzying mix of competing priorities for precious transportation dollars.

Oregon House Democrats pitched a plan to overhaul the way the state taxes businesses Thursday. The proposal is part of an effort to bridge a $1.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming budget.

Oregon lawmakers are trying to clear out a huge backlog of bills awaiting votes. Ahead of Wednesday's floor sessions, the House and Senate had a combined 84 measures awaiting action.

Oregon lawmakers are one step closer to banning the use of all handheld electronic devices while driving.

The Oregon House approved a measure Monday that would clarify that the state's ban on cell phone use while driving applies to all functions of a smart phone, not just texting and talking.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice David Brewer will step down at the end of June. He will become the second judge on Oregon's highest court to resign this year.

Oregon lawmakers have unveiled a proposed business tax that’s meant to help bridge a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.

The new tax would be a “gross receipts tax,” and would replace the existing corporate income tax. Unlike an income tax, the gross receipts tax would be levied on a company’s overall sales, not its profits.

Oregonians could petition a court to revoke the gun rights of a household member in crisis under a bill approved Monday in the Oregon Senate.

Red-light cameras in Oregon could soon be also nabbing drivers for speeding. The Oregon House could vote as soon as Monday on a bill that would allow cities to use the cameras to issue speeding tickets.

One of the largest state workers unions rallied in front of the Oregon Capitol Friday. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said budget-balancing discussions by Oregon lawmakers unfairly target public employees.

Sexual assault victims under age 21 could come forward to police without being cited for underage alcohol possession under a measure moving ahead in the Oregon legislature.

The state of Oregon has announced a new round of taxpayer-funded grants to help schools and other public buildings better withstand a major earthquake.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered a two-month hiring freeze for state government jobs. The Democrat is ordering state agencies not to fill any job vacancies during the months of May and June.

A key deadline for measures to advance in the Oregon Legislature has passed. That means Oregon lawmakers now have a better sense of what's remaining on their agenda.

Hundreds of bills -- some of which enjoyed bipartisan support -- are no longer in play.

Budget writers at the Oregon Legislature are warning of deep cuts to health care and education. The Democrats in charge of putting together a two-year spending plan released a list of potential cuts Monday.

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