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.

Oregon lawmakers who are trying to decide whether to seek re-election would have to make up their minds sooner under a measure introduced Thursday.

Some Oregon lawmakers want to create a task force to examine whether the state should try to take control of federal lands. Supporters acknowledge there's no clear path to transferring federal lands to state ownership. This bill would create a task force that would study the feasibility and cost of pursuing such transfers.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would push the state toward adopting a traffic safety program that has the goal of eventually zeroing out all traffic fatalities.

Oregon lawmakers are considering making lobbyists provide more information about the bills they're working on. The House Rules Committee heard testimony on the measure Tuesday.

Kids in Oregon would have to sit in rear-facing car seats until they turn two under a bill being considered by state lawmakers. Current law only requires that until an infant turns one.

The future of Oregon's public pension system is up for debate at the state Capitol. A Senate panel kicked off a series of public hearings Monday on a proposal to rein in costs.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a proposal that would open the door to allowing more people to pump their own gas. It's an expansion of a previous loosening of the state's ban on self-service gasoline.

Oregonians will have their chance to weigh in on the state's spending plan during a series of public hearings around the state. The Joint Committee On Ways and Means, the legislature's budget-writing committee, is seeking input on ways to bridge a roughly $1.8 billion shortfall in the upcoming budget cycle.

Students in Oregon would learn more about the history and culture of the state's Native American tribes under a proposal being considered by state lawmakers.

Discussions are under way in Oregon's capitol over whether to change or delay implementation of a voter-approved ballot measure on high school education.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would ban the use of solitary confinement in Oregon Youth Authority facilities. Leaders of the agency testified in favor of the bill Wednesday.

Some Oregon farming groups want state lawmakers to allow counties to regulate or even ban genetically engineered crops. The legislature took away that right in 2013 during a special session. At the time, opponents of genetically engineered crops were told that a statewide policy would be forthcoming.

Oregon lawmakers are considering proposals aimed at making sure women are paid the same rate as men for similar work. Two measures were introduced this week.

A joint House and Senate panel of the Oregon Legislature is getting down to work this month on crafting a massive transportation funding package.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order Thursday meant to counteract President Trump's recent directives on immigration. The Democrat also announced a possible lawsuit against Trump’s actions.

The legal age to purchase and use tobacco in Oregon would rise from 18 to 21 under a measure under consideration in the legislature. A similar measure is under consideration in Washington state this year.

The 2017 session of the Oregon Legislature kicks off Wednesday. Talk of how to bridge a budget gap of roughly $1.8 billion will dominate this year's session.

And the answer to that question likely won't be known for months.

Oregon state Rep. Vic Gilliam, a Republican from Silverton who is battling ALS, announced Monday that he's stepping down. His resignation is effective Wednesday, the first day of the 2017 legislative session.

A Portland program meant to recruit more foster parents in Oregon is expanding statewide.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said it's not clear what effect President Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities will have on state government. But the Democrat said she's committed to protecting the human rights of undocumented Oregonians.

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