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 taxpayers who file returns as soon as possible in order to claim a refund may have to wait longer to get their cash in 2017. The Oregon Department of Revenue says it will hold onto state income tax refunds until February 15.

After Oregon voters approved recreational marijuana use for adults in 2014, there was no place to legally buy it until October of the following year. That's when a law kicked in that allowed dispensaries to sell to people without medical marijuana cards.

Oregon's agency devoted to economic development should provide more transparency about how its incentives are being used. That's one of the findings of an audit of Business Oregon released Monday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

A vacant seat in the Oregon Senate will soon belong to James Manning, an African-American Army veteran from Eugene. The Lane County Board of Commissioners made the selection Wednesday.

Law enforcement officers in Oregon would be required to collect data on the race, ethnicity, age and sex of people they pull over under a measure proposed Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Justice.

The idea is the result of a task force created to find ways to eliminate law enforcement profiling.

Oregon lawmakers are delaying a decision on whether to open a second women's prison. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to deny a funding request from the Oregon Department of Corrections.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Richard Baldwin will step down next spring. Baldwin had served as a trial court judge in Multnomah County for more than a decade when he was elected to Oregon's highest court in 2012.

In the wake of last month's defeat of a proposed corporate tax increase, the union-funded group that sponsored the measure unveiled a new set of revenue-raising proposals Tuesday. But after Measure 97 went down big time in November, this proposal is rather different.

A new law this year in Oregon requires insurance companies to cover a 12-month supply of prescription birth control. The law took effect earlier this year, but its backers say some insurers haven't gotten the message.

Oregon lawmakers are returning to the State Capitol Monday for a final round of prep work before the new legislative session begins. The list of meetings gives a glimpse into what lawmakers will discuss during 2017.

Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins said she was "taken aback" by the amount of misinformation that surrounded Oregon's recent election process. In a speech at Salem City Club, Atkins said even her own Facebook friends were sharing bad information.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown rolled out a two-year spending plan Thursday at the State Capitol. The proposal tackles a $1.7 billion budget shortfall with a mix of program cuts and tax hikes.

Oregonians with disabilities will soon be able to save money without losing their state and federal benefits. That's due to a newly created program rolling out December 6.

The number of public school students in Oregon considered homeless has increased for the third year in a row. That's according to an annual report released by the state Department of Education.

When the 2017 Oregon legislature convenes in January, there will be familiar faces in most of the key leadership posts. Democrats hold a majority in both chambers, which means they can effectively choose who holds the gavel.

With Thanksgiving on the mind of most people this week, a new report shows the number of Oregonians who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from continues to rise.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has filled two high-profile vacancies in state government. The Democrat announced Friday appointments to head the Oregon Lottery and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

The two largest business lobbying groups in Oregon will merge next year. The organizations say the move will give business interests a more unified voice at the state Capitol.

Oregon lawmakers didn't get much by way of good news Wednesday with the release of the latest revenue projections. Those show a $52 million drop in anticipated revenue during the upcoming budget cycle.

That means lawmakers will have to patch up an even bigger budget shortfall, which is already expected to exceed $1.5 billion.

The Independent Party of Oregon is looking ahead after their first time being on a general election ballot as a major party. The group didn't win any races but leaders say the party did make its presence known.

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