Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR affiliate WNIJ-FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

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.

In addition to working full time in public radio for the past decade, Chris has also reported from overseas on a freelance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and children.

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Oregon businesses would have to offer employees paid time off to care for children or family members under a bill being considered in Salem. The measure would require employers to pay into a fund that workers could use for up to 12 weeks per year, or more in the case of parental leave.

Education advocates made their case for increased school funding in front of Oregon lawmakers Thursday. The subcommittee that focuses on education heard testimony from people who want lawmakers to boost K-12 funding from the $7.8 billion proposed in a preliminary budget framework.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would make it easier for transgender people to change their identity on government documents.

The mortgage interest tax deduction collectively saves Oregonians about a $500 million per year on their state income taxes. But Oregon lawmakers are considering scaling it back.

The measure under consideration would still allow the deduction for many taxpayers but would end it for higher income households.

Lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are debating measures intended to crack down on distracted driving.

With Oregon’s biggest cities in a housing crunch, lawmakers are considering a measure that would require landlords to give specific reasons for evicting a tenant.

An Oregon court will hear arguments Thursday in a case involving a bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is urging the Trump administration to view marijuana as an economic opportunity. Her comments came as Attorney General Jeff Sessions hinted Tuesday at a federal crackdown on recreational cannabis.

A measure under consideration in the Oregon Legislature would allow juries to award unlimited damages in lawsuits alleging negligence.

Juries can already award unlimited damages that are tied to actual economic harm done to victims. But the state has a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages, sometimes referred to as "pain and suffering."

Transgender people in Oregon would have an easier way to change their identity on government documents under a bill being considered by Oregon lawmakers.

Members of the Oregon House are considering a proposal to ban the long-accepted practice of allowing members to introduce bills anonymously.

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

The debate over whether to increase taxes on Oregon businesses is heating up this week at the state Capitol.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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The 79th session of the Oregon legislature kicks off Wednesday with a flurry of activity. It's the first day of a session that's expected to last through early July.

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.

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.

The chief budget-writers for the Oregon Legislature have released a spending proposal that includes cuts to state programs. The proposal issued Thursday outlines how lawmakers might bridge an expected budget gap.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency for all of Oregon. It comes as communities around the state struggle with heavy snow and potential flooding.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took the oath of office and delivered an inaugural address before a joint session of the Oregon Legislature Monday. In her speech, she signaled that she'll make a strong push toward getting a transportation funding package through the state legislature.

Office of the Governor / Flickr

Oregon Governor Kate Brown will take the oath of office and deliver an inaugural address Monday.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is looking for a new chief of staff heading into the 2017 legislative session. The governor's office announced Tuesday that Kristen Leonard will resign at the end of January.

Two people were killed in separate traffic crashes in Oregon Tuesday. That means 2016 is now the deadliest year on Oregon's roads in more than a decade.

The new year means a new slate of 18 laws will take effect in Oregon. That's a relatively small number because the 2016 legislative session was just five weeks long. Most of the bills that were passed during the session have taken effect already.

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