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.

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.

The Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability said Monday Judge Vance Day should be removed from office after refusing to perform same-sex weddings. Day's spokesperson said in a statement that the judge would vigorously defend his innocence and his rights at the state's highest court.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum wants state lawmakers to fund a new set of investigators specializing in elder abuse cases. It comes as more than 150 prosecutors, attorneys and law enforcement officers meet to discuss elder abuse in Salem Tuesday.

The union-backed group that's seeking to increase taxes on some of Oregon's largest corporations is ramping up its signature collection efforts this weekend.

Thanks to a measure approved by Oregon lawmakers last summer, you’ll soon be able to legally drive faster on more than 1,500 miles of highways in Oregon. But while the bill sped through the legislature fairly quickly, there's a lot to be done before Oregon drivers can speed up.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced her support for a major hike in the state's minimum wage. Brown said she hopes her new proposal will encourage the backers of two initiative campaigns to lay down their signature-gathering pens.

Brown's proposal would raise the hourly minimum wage to $15.52 in the Portland metro area and $13.50 in the rest of the state. The increase would be phased in over the next six years.

An Oregon county is suing the state over forestry money. Commissioners from Linn County, located between Salem and Eugene, announced the $1.4 billion class-action lawsuit Wednesday at a press conference at the state Capitol.

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