Cheyna Roth | Michigan Radio
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Cheyna Roth

Capitol Reporter

Cheyna Roth

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR.

Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN.

Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker.

Ways to Connect

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The November election is weeks away, and Tuesday is the last day for Michigan residents to register to vote.

The election will decide the state’s next governor, attorney general and secretary of state among many other races.

State House and Senate, U.S. Senate and ballot initiatives – oh my.

After a high turnout in the primary, Michigan’s former state Elections Director is predicting about four million voters will head to the polls on November 6th – which would be a pretty high turnout for a midterm.

picture of Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in Lansing are still deciding whether to change criminal penalties surrounding disclosing one’s HIV status.

The state House recently passed a group of bills aimed at modernizing the state’s policy on HIV.

But two bills that were originally part of the package are still in committee.  Those would lower criminal penalties for people who knowingly and intentionally spread HIV to another person. Right now, it’s a felony to do that.

prescription drugs
flickr/Charles Williams / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan will get more than $50 million from the federal government to help fight the state’s opioid epidemic. The money will be spread out over two years and used for three purposes – prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley says he’s excited about being able to use the money for increased training of doctors in addiction medicine. That’s because, he says, addiction treatment is an emerging field.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Governor Rick Snyder wants to improve the state’s response time to PFAS chemicals. They’ve been found in groundwater, surface water, and drinking water across the state. Snyder issued a directive on Tuesday calling on state departments and agencies to create a readiness and response plan.

“We want to be ready in case something else happens, how do we respond as quickly and effectively as possible and that’s what this is about,” said Snyder spokesperson Ari Adler.

Michigan State University continues to deal with the fallout from employing one of the most prolific serial sexual predators of the modern era. On Thursday, a judge will decide if there is enough evidence to send ex-MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages to trial on charges of lying to law enforcement during its investigation into Larry Nassar.

Orange construction barrels
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder still can’t build a bridge between a union and a construction trade association to end a roadwork stoppage across the state.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state Legislature returns this week. But lawmakers will likely save big issues for after the election. 

“I wish I could tell ya that we were gonna solve road funding, tackle other big issues over the next few weeks,” said Senator Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing. “I’ve seen no indication of that whatsoever, and I think a lot of stuff is going to hold off until lame duck.”

House and Senate spokespeople have confirmed that there won’t be much going on in their chambers this week. But there are some committees scheduled to tackle major issues.

A brick church
User VanZandt / Flickr- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Attorney General’s office is investigating the state’s Catholic priests. A response to a Freedom of Information Act request says the AG’s office has been looking into alleged sexual abuse and assault of children from 1950 to present. It also says the office started the investigation in August.

This comes after an investigation in Pennsylvania revealed hundreds of priests had sexually abused children.

Michael Diebold is with the Diocese of Lansing.

FLICKR USER 401(K) / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Healthy Michigan means better credit for Michigan’s low-income residents. That’s according to a new study on the state’s Medicaid expansion released Monday. It found that people on the plan improved their financial health after getting the insurance coverage.

Sarah Miller is a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She worked on the study. Miller says they found that because people were in less financial stress health-wise, they didn’t overdraw their credit cards and they paid bills on time. That means their credit scores got better.

Marijuana
USFWS

The state is trying to figure out the “best way forward” for medical marijuana patients and shops. A judge ordered the state to allow all medical marijuana dispensaries to stay open while they wait for their licenses to be approved by a state board.

Attorney Denise Pollicella represents Montrowe dispensary.

A hospital emergency room entrance.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has submitted a waiver to require people on Healthy Michigan to work for their health insurance benefits. 

Christopher Graveline
cg4ag.com

Michigan voters just got another choice for attorney general candidates in the November election.

The Board of State Canvassers certified former Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline as a non-party candidate Friday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will not be able to fill in just one bubble for an entire party in the November election.

A group has been fighting to put straight-ticket voting on this year’s general election ballot. That’s after the Legislature banned the practice several years ago.

Larry Nassar
Michigan Attorney General's office

Larry Nassar’s requests to be resentenced are now in the hands of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

An Eaton County judge denied the former Michigan State University sports doctor’s request. Nassar sexually assaulted his young female patients for years. Lately, he’s been trying to get a new sentencing hearing.

Nassar was sentenced to at least 40 years in prison in both an Ingham County Court and an Eaton County Court. An Ingham County judge had previously denied his request for a new sentence.

pile of one dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two measures that were headed to the November ballot are now law. The state Legislature voted to increase the state’s minimum wage and allow employees to get earned sick time. However, the laws do not take immediate effect.

Some supporters of the proposals are now concerned about what the Legislature will do next.

The Legislature passed the measures instead of the voters, so it can make changes to the laws with a simple majority. But if the voters had passed the measures, the Legislature would have needed a 3/4 majority for any amendments.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The state Legislature is back this week and Democrats want to see action on protecting people from chemicals in drinking water.

The term PFAS describes a family of chemicals that’s been used in things like fire-fighting foam. It’s been found in the water of communities all across the state. The chemicals have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer.  

picture of Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are finalizing their fall agenda.

There’s only nine session days scheduled between now and Election Day. Lawmakers will try to spend as much time as possible campaigning in their districts.

Democrats in the state House are hoping to hold hearings on the issues surrounding Michigan’s groundwater. Over in the Senate, Republicans are keeping the agenda open.

Michigan State Spartans
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University say the National Collegiate Athletic Association has ended its inquiry into the school’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints.

The school announced the end of the inquiry Thursday.

protesters carrying signs
Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has misled a federal court about whether Iraqi detainees can go back to Iraq.

Christopher Graveline
cg4ag.com

The Michigan Secretary of State is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that an independent candidate must go on the November ballot – despite not having enough valid signatures to qualify.

A federal court recently said that Christopher Graveline must appear on the November ballot if at least 5-thousand of the signatures he submitted are valid. Graveline got more than that, but only about half of the signatures an independent would normally need to get on the ballot in the state Attorney General race. So he sued the state.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Convicted former Michigan State University sports doctor, Larry Nassar, will not get a new sentence – for now.

Nassar was sentenced to at least 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting seven former patients under the guise of medical treatment.

Michigan State Capitol Building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Democratic Party finalized its portion of the November ballot this weekend.

The Democrats held a so-called Endorsement Convention in April. It was there that they decided which candidates to throw their weight behind for races like attorney general and secretary of state.

Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Republican party has it’s ticket finalized for the November election.

While multiple people called for unity…there is still some discontent within the party.

The theme was “Results Not Resistance.” The Michigan GOP has been somewhat fractured since the primary.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan State University says it will find a new, permanent president by June of 20-19 – And now it has a committee in place to help find the right person for the job.

Democratic candidate for governor, Gretchen Whitmer, chose her running mate today.

Detroiter Garlin Gilchrist will join Whitmer on the November ballot. Gilchrist is a former director of Innovation and Emerging Technology for the city of Detroit. He was also endorsed by progressive groups in a prior campaign for Detroit City Clerk.

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio

Attorney General Bill Schuette has chosen Lisa Posthumus Lyons as his running mate for the November election. Schuette is the Republican nominee for governor – he won about 50 percent of his party’s vote in the primary.

If Schuette is successful in the general election, Lyons will be the state’s next Lieutenant Governor.

larry nassar in court
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Larry Nassar’s attempt to have a new judge consider his appeal in Ingham County has been denied. Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

A billionaire took his fight to impeach President Donald Trump to Lansing Monday. This time with a slightly new message.

Tom Steyer, a Democratic activist and hedge fund manager, launched his Need to Vote campaign – with 10 million dollars going toward the effort. The plan is from now until the general election in November, to get as many people to vote as possible. The goal is to elect enough people to national office across the US that are willing to impeach Trump that the president can be removed from office.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A state board has approved 16 medical marijuana licenses. Licenses have been approved at all stages of the medical marijuana system– from dispensaries to testing labs. But there’s been some concern about having enough pot shops open for patients.

Starting September 15th, any dispensary that doesn’t have a license will have to close.

David Harns is a spokesperson for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation. He says once the deadline hits, there should be enough open dispensaries to meet the need.

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