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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

Emma Winowiecki/ Michigan Radio

A woman who says Michigan State University ignored her sexual assault complaints is considering a run for the school’s board of trustees.

Amanda Thomashow says she's strongly considering a run for the position. She’s a survivor of Larry Nassar. He’s the former MSU doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years. Thomashow reported Nassar to school officials, but her complaint was swept under the rug.

State Senator Patrick Colbeck
www.senatorpatrickcolbeck.com/photowire

Tensions were high on the Senate floor today, when a lawmaker doubled down on claims that Muslim terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate the U.S.

Republican Senator Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, is running for governor. A Buzzfeed article recently uncovered a presentation Colbeck gave. In it, he accuses a Democratic candidate for governor of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Colbeck has offered no proof to support this claim.

Mugshot of Dr. William Strampel
Michigan Attorney General's office

A former Michigan State University dean is accused of using practice medical exams for his own sexual pleasure.

Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Larry Nassar scandal will shape Michigan’s laws for decades to come.

Nassar is the former Olympics and Michigan State University sports doctor who was convicted of sexually assaulting young girls under the guise of treatment. He’ll likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

The state Legislature has more than 30 bills on its plate aimed at curbing sexual assault in the state and preventing another case like Nassar’s from happening again.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

Michigan could soon require certain people to work for their Medicaid benefits. 

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Inmates at a mid-Michigan prison are on lockdown after gang related fighting.

Multiple fights broke out over the course of several days. They started Thursday, and occurred multiple times on Sunday during meals and finally on the prison yard on Monday. The facility has been on lockdown since Monday at lunchtime. Lockdown means inmates don’t have any privileges and are confined to their cells.

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

State lawmakers have a pile of bills aimed at curbing sexual assault. But some in the medical profession are concerned the legislation might go too far.

The bills were drafted after former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar was convicted of sexually assaulting patients for years.

One bill would change requirements for record keeping for certain types of exams. And make it a felony if doctors don’t document.

The Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

An electrical cable that leaked hundreds of gallons of mineral oils into the Straits of Mackinac will be inspected – as soon as the weather clears up.

Unified Command is a team of local, state and federal officials that responded to the spill reported earlier this month. The owner of the cable line, American Transmission Company is also on the team.

The plan is to send a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) under the water to inspect the line.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Democrats want Dana Nessel as their candidate for state attorney general in 2018. The party held its endorsement convention Sunday. Thousands gathered to vote on who should be on the ballot.

It was at times a bitter race, but former U.S. Attorney Pat Miles conceded to Nessel. Nessel is one of the Michigan attorneys who fought for gay marriage rights and won at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Miles went into the convention with organized labor’s endorsement – which usually means victory. But Nessel’s progressive platform, with nods from LGBTQ and marijuana groups won the day.

Flickr User Thetoad / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

State lawmakers want to hit universities in their pocketbooks if they don’t follow certain sexual assault policies.

A measure cleared a House committee Thursday as part of the House’s Higher Education committee budget bill. It would cut university funding by 10% if a university doesn’t follow certain Title IX and sexual assault policies.

“I do believe that a lot of the schools are already doing most of these things,” said state Rep. and committee chair Kim LaSata, R-St. Joseph. “But we just want it to be similar across the board.”

Flint residents stand on the Capitol steps protesting the Snyder administration decision to stop free bottled water delivery to the city.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

People from Flint interrupted a state legislative session Wednesday to demand clean drinking water.

They’re upset with the recent decision by Governor Rick Snyder’s administration to stop distributing free bottled water in the city. During House session, people started to chant, “Do your job, open the PODs” – that’s Point of Delivery for bottled water distribution. The group then walked down the stairs and out of the Capitol while chanting. One person was temporarily detained. He says he isn’t facing any charges.

Michigan State Police officer at computer
Michigan State Police

Police in Michigan hope the number of unsolved missing persons will drop thanks to a new law  signed by Governor Rick Snyder recently.

The legislation requires all law enforcement agencies to put missing persons’ information into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System – or NamUs.

Law enforcement say Michigan is ranked 3rd in the nation for most missing persons. Experts say requiring law enforcement to put case information into NamUs could help lower the state’s number of missing persons.

Michigan State University sign
Michigan State University

A state House inquiry released Thursday found Michigan State University failed to properly investigate or protect students from Larry Nassar, the former sports doctor recently convicted of sexually assaulting patients under the guise of treatment. A letter detailing the findings of the inquiry says at least 243 survivors have now reported Nassar to MSU Police. 

flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A major firearms case will be debated in front of the Michigan Supreme Court next week. But advocates on both sides say it’s about more than whether someone can carry a firearm on school grounds.

Ann Arbor and Clio school districts in Michigan got sued for banning guns on school grounds.

State law generally prevents local gun rules – and the court will decide whether that applies here- which could have a broader impact.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A state attorney general candidate has filed a complaint against his opponent. Democrat Pat Miles says fellow Democrat Dana Nessel violated the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.

“Michigan has some of the weakest campaign finance laws in the first place. And if you can’t even follow that law, then what kind of attorney general would you be?” Miles said.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says Ford could stand to refresh its model lineup, and should invest more in connected vehicles.
Ford Motor Company

As Michigan moves forward in the so-called “race to mobility,” there are still some details it needs to work out. The second annual report from Michigan’s Council on Future Mobility came out Monday.

The recommendations include the need for more laws and clarification surrounding the use of self-driving cars. For example, whether state laws need a new definition for the word “drive” And who – or what – would actually get a ticket?

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan DEQ has approved a permit from Nestle Waters North America to increase the amount of groundwater it pumps from its well near Evart, Michigan.

The state says Nestle has to complete a monitoring plan and submit it to the DEQ for approval. After that happens, Nestle will be authorized to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from its White Pine Springs well.

Mugshot of Dr. William Strampel
Michigan Attorney General's office

The fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University continues. Nassar’s boss and former Dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, William Strampel, was arrested late Monday and arraigned Tuesday on felony and misdemeanor charges.

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Dr. William Strampel, Larry Nassar's boss and former Michigan State University medical school dean, was arrested and booked into the Ingham County Jail Monday night.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Marches for stricter gun laws happened all across Michigan and the U.S. Saturday.

About 2,000 people walked from the Hall of Justice to the State Capitol, carrying signs and chanting.

Their message was simple “Our kids aren’t safe, and that needs to change.”  

Two signs side by side. One says "Stronger Together" and the other says "Protect Kids Not Guns"
Brian Wybenga

Marches for stricter gun laws happened all across Michigan and the U.S. today.

Thousands of people gathered in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, and several other Michigan cities.

In Lansing, about 2,000 people walked from the Hall of Justice to the State Capitol, carrying signs and chanting.

A judge cannot impose a certain sentence simply because a defendant exercised his right to a trial. The Michigan Court of Appeals made this ruling today, for the second time. To the same judge.

In 2016, the court told Judge Qiana Lillard of Wayne County that her practice of sentencing defendants who go to trial at the top of their sentence range violated their rights. But that wasn’t a precedent setting opinion. Now the court has made itself clear and set the precedent.

The state Legislature began discussions Wednesday on the newest plan to make people work for Medicaid.

The bill would require able-bodied adults to perform an average of 30 hours of work, job training, or education every week. Pregnant adults, people with medical disabilities, and others would not be included.

Bill sponsor, Senator Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and the CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Richard Studley, both agreed that the state’s Medicaid expansion, Healthy Michigan, isn’t working.

Governor Rick Snyder signing the bill that will allow for autonomous vehicles to be driven on public roads.
Ryan Burklow / Executive Office of Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan lawmakers are comfortable with the state’s current driverless vehicle laws. In 2016, the governor signed into law regulations on autonomous vehicles. Those also allow for testing of self-driving cars on state roads.

But this week an autonomous vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.

Governor Rick Snyder has championed autonomous vehicles for a while. He said they need to find out all the issues associated with the death, but he’s not sure it will stall development of autonomous vehicles.

Olivia Cowan
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in Lansing have been working on legislation in response to the Larry Nassar case. And while they’re at it, some say they might want to clarify who counts as a victim when it comes to giving impact statements at a defendant’s sentencing.

A cafeteria worker's gloved hand grabs waffle fries with tongs.
U.S. Air Force

An effective food system in the state’s prisons should go beyond just feeding prisoners. That’s the message of some lawmakers in the state Senate.

The governor announced he wants to end privatized food service in the state’s prisons. Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph, said this is an opportunity to go a step further. He’s put together a work group to explore training inmates in food services. Proos said there are thousands of available jobs across the state in the restaurant industry. 

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It’s national Sunshine Week – a time when officials and reporters shed light on access to public information.

Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien / senatormargaretobrien.com

Legislation created out of tragedy is scheduled for a vote in the state Senate this week. Larry Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor who sexually assaulted young patients under the guise of treatment for decades. Lawmakers have been working on legislation to prevent a similar case from happening again.

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

Victims would have more rights under bills passed by the state House Thursday.

One bill would require defendants be physically present in the courtroom when a victim or victim’s family gives an impact statement at sentencing. The other is aimed at making sure students don’t have to go to school with someone who sexually assaulted them.

money
Mathieu Turle / unsplash

Some lawmakers in Lansing want people to work to get Medicaid. The Senate introduced a bill Thursday. It would add work requirements to the Medical Assistance Program, or Medicaid.

Medicaid is a federal program that gives low-income people – along with children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities - health insurance.

If passed, able-bodied adults would be required to work or continue school for 30 hours per week as a condition of receiving medical assistance.

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