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 voted Wednesday to eliminate the statute of limitations for first-degree sex crimes, including rape. Under current law, prosecutors have 12 years after the crime to file charges.

It’s official: Oregon’s minimum wage will increase over the next six years after Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill Wednesday at a state Capitol ceremony. Brown called the measure her top priority for this year's legislative session.

By the year 2030, the electricity that most Oregonians use won't be powered by coal. That's the goal of a measure that's moving through the Oregon Legislature. The state House approved the plan Tuesday.

One of the initiative campaigns to raise Oregon's minimum wage announced Monday that it's ending its signature-gathering efforts. But a separate campaign says it will keep trying to get an initiative on the November ballot.

Oregon lawmakers are moving ahead with a measure that would lift the state's nearly two-decade-old ban on inclusionary zoning laws. The Oregon Senate voted Friday to allow cities and counties to require builders to set aside a portion of large developments for affordable units.

The Oregon House approved a measure Thursday that would create a statewide tip line to report threats against schools. The idea is that in some cases, someone who intends to do harm tells a friend or relative ahead of time.

Republicans returned to work Thursday in the Oregon Senate, one day after GOP lawmakers refused to show up for a late-day floor session. The rare walk-out denied majority Democrats the quorum they needed to approve legislation.

Last November, a long-time Oregon state representative announced he is facing a "likely diagnosis" of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Vic Gilliam said he would continue to serve as long as his conditions allowed.

The costs associated with the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are still being tallied up. They include police overtime, lodging, meals and fuel. Initial estimates show the total will easily top $1 million.

Two measures aimed at protecting low-income Oregonians from rising housing costs are moving forward in the state legislature.

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.

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