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.

Gun buyers in Oregon could have to wait longer to get a weapon if there's a delay in processing their criminal background check. The Oregon House narrowly approved the measure Monday.

Oregon lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a measure that will increase the state's minimum wage over the next six years. The vote in the Oregon House now sends the measure to the governor's desk.

It's been one year since Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber resigned. The Democrat stepped down last February amid an influence peddling investigation.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would allow law enforcement officers involved in fatal shootings to ask a court to shield their name for 90 days.

Republicans in the Oregon legislature are taking advantage of a little-used procedural move to force bills to be read out loud in their entirety. It's adding up to some lengthy floor sessions.

Voting in Oregon could get even easier -- and cheaper. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would require the state to pay the postage when voters return their ballots through the mail.

A plan to hike Oregon's minimum wage is moving forward in the state legislature. The state Senate Thursday approved a measure that would increase the wage to as much as $14.75 per hour over the next six years.

The 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is over. The final four remaining occupiers surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning without incident.

Oregon's economy continues to flourish, but the long-term outlook isn't as rosy. That was the message to lawmakers Wednesday from state economists, who released their quarterly revenue forecast.

Opponents of genetically engineered crops in Oregon want state lawmakers to allow local governments to ban those crops. The measure under consideration would reverse a bill approved during a special session less than three years ago.

A plan to hike Oregon's minimum wage is moving forward in the Oregon Legislature. A measure cleared a committee Friday and is headed for a vote on the Senate floor.

Customers of Portland-based health insurance company Moda should rest assured their policies will be honored. That was the message from state regulators Monday after they announced a consent order meant to keep the company afloat.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would close what some activists call a "loophole" in the state's criminal background check law. It allows gun sales to go through if a background check isn't completed by the end of the next business day.

A political showdown at the Oregon Capitol could result in some very long floor sessions this month. And at the heart of the debate is a clause in the state Constitution that dates back to 1859.

Oregon lawmakers want to continue to root out cases of police profiling. A House panel Tuesday advanced a measure that would require additional research into the issue.

An Oregon state lawmaker is making what he calls a long shot attempt at heading off an initiative that would raise corporate taxes.

Oregon lawmakers kicked off a five-week legislative session Monday with a long "to do" list. But some at the Capitol think the legislature is overstepping its authority.

People from three Pacific island nations have the right to live and work in the United States, thanks to a unique 1986 treaty. But a separate Congressional action 20 years ago means that they are not eligible for Medicaid -- even those who become taxpayers.

Many have settled in Oregon, where lawmakers will consider a bill in February that would require the state to subsidize medical care for people from these nations.

The Marshall Islands are an independent nation made up of more than 1,000 small islands near the equator, about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii.

Oregon Secretary of State

On Monday, Oregon’s legislature reconvenes. Democratic lawmakers see the five-week-long  “short session” as a chance to wrap up unfinished business left over from last year’s full-length session.

But Republicans, who are in the minority, say the Dems are abusing their control of the legislature to push through a liberal agenda.

JPR’s Liam Moriarty talks with statehouse correspondent Chris Lehman to get a sense of what we can expect in the upcoming session.  

Oregon Governor Kate Brown wants state lawmakers to approve roughly $500,000 in emergency funding to cover costs associated with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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