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.

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The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The state Senate was back in Lansing Tuesday. Lawmakers mostly met in private and did not vote on any bills. They say they are still working on coming up with a state budget and roads plan. The budget is due by midnight on September 30.

Republican Senator Wayne Schmidt is chair of the Senate Appropriations Transportation subcommittee. He says part of the hold up is that for the first time in eight years there’s bipartisan government. Republican leadership in the House and Senate, and a Democrat in the governor’s office.

judge's hammer on top of $100 bills
Yingko / Adobe Stock

A 61-year-old Ionia man will receive 1.3 million dollars from the state. 

alcohol bottles on shelves
Adam Wilson / Unsplash

Michigan has an alcohol smuggling problem, according to the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.

The group compiled data from the Liquor Control Commission and the state’s excise tax information to determine how much alcohol is being shipped to Michigan illegally.

https://www.michiganstateuniversityonline.com/about/michigan-state/

A federal department plans to oversee changes at Michigan State University for the next three years.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services started a civil rights investigation into the university soon after the sentencing of Larry Nassar, the former university sports doctor serving a de facto life sentence for child pornography and for sexually assaulting his patients.

close up of Katyh Klages and other woman
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

An Ingham County judge denied a request Wednesday to dismiss a felony charge for an ex-Michigan State University gymnastics coach.

Kathie Klages is charged with lying to law enforcement during an investigation into former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar. The Klages prosecution is part of a broader investigation into how Nassar was able to sexually assault his young patients for decades.

William Strampel
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

One year. That’s how long the former dean of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine was sentenced to spend in jail on Wednesday.

William Strampel was convicted of using his position as dean to try to solicit sexual favors from students, and other charges.

heart monitor during surgery
Adobe Stock

Medicaid insurance providers in Michigan cannot refuse benefits for sex reassignment surgeries and hormone replacement medications. The governor’s office recently codified the antidiscrimination language into the state’s Medicaid Provider Manual. It’s already state policy.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says this puts Michigan in line with federal law.

“Our laws have been inconsistent on the books here in Michigan and we thought it was important to clean it up and make sure that our laws reflected what the mandates of the Affordable Care Act are,” she says.

close up of trigger on a gun.
Wes / Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it’s possible to support the Second Amendment and be in favor of gun control, and she wants the state Legislature to act in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

assault rifle
Adobe Stock

Gun violence in the United States is a public health problem – and it needs to be treated that way. That’s according to Dr. Rebecca Cunningham, the Director of the Injury Prevention Center at the University of Michigan.

Cunningham said gun violence prevention should be explored in the same way drownings and car crashes are prevented. That means focusing on risk and prevention factors, and applying injury prevention science and tactics. For example, to prevent car crashes, people changed infrastructure and the way cars were made.

Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg)
Michigan House of Representatives

The people of the 104th District are a step closer to recalling their state representative. The Board of State Canvassers approved a recall petition against Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) on Thursday.

Inman has been charged with multiple federal crimes: soliciting a bribe, lying to the FBI, and attempted extortion. They say Inman tried to sell his vote on a controversial measure.

Michigan's 13th congressional district
Wikipedia

Republican opponents of Michigan’s new independent redistricting commission are back in court.

Last November, voters said “yes” to a measure that created the Michigan Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw Michigan’s political district lines.

It was a long battle to even get on the ballot – ending when the Michigan Supreme Court said the measure had to be put in front of voters.

aretha franklin
Ben Alman / Flickr

A former Detroit superstar will now have a portion of the freeway named in her honor. The Aretha Franklin Memorial Highway will run along a section of the M-10 freeway, between Livernois and I-94 in Detroit.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the law Monday. Franklin died last August at age 76. The bill signing happened on a pink Cadillac in downtown Detroit. Whitmer called Franklin an “American icon” and said her musical contributions helped shape the state.

Michigan Supreme Court
ehrlif / Adobe Stock

Lawyers from the state Attorney General's Office will be in front of the Michigan Supreme Court Wednesday. The twist? They'll be arguing both sides of the same issue.

Adobe Stock

Employees at the Michigan Department of Corrections face a higher chance of Major Depressive Disorder than first responders and other high stress jobs. That’s according to a new report released Monday.

The study found that about one in four MDOC employees would meet criteria for PTSD if they were screened.

Detainees being housed inside fenced rooms at a government facility.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 20 other attorneys general from across the U.S. to ask a court to force the federal government to keep children safe in immigration detention centers. The brief says media reports detail “deplorable and inhumane conditions,” including being denied basic necessities like like clean water and soap.

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

The Michigan Supreme Court is unsure if it can weigh in on the method used to change Michigan’s minimum wage and earned sick time laws, and it wants Attorney General Dana Nessel to weigh in.

Michigan Supreme Court
Subterranean / Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court says the state’s tribal governments do not fall under a constitutional provision that can prevent some people from running for office.

Fred Paquin was on the board of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians' governing body. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States in 2010.

Olly / Adobe Stock

Some lawmakers in Lansing say the state’s divorce statute is “archaic” and needs an update.

A new bill introduced in the state House would allow anyone to change their name back after a divorce using the judgment of divorce. It essentially makes that part of the statute gender neutral. Right now, the act specifies “divorced women.”

State representative Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods) is a bill sponsor. He says the current process for someone who isn’t a woman to change their name is too complicated.

Michigan congressional map
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons


someone holding a clipboard while another person signs a petition
Svetlana / Adobe Stock

You may soon be asked to sign a petition to restrict abortion in Michigan.

Updated: Wednesday June 26, 2019 at 3:08 p.m.:

The clock started Wednesday for abortion rights opponents to get enough valid signatures in order to get a measure on the 2020 ballot.

governor gretchen whitmer sitting at table with blue screen behind her
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature won’t hold a session for at least the next two weeks, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not happy about it.

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a spending bill worth more than $28 million. The money will be distributed to a variety of areas. That includes funding for implementing parts of the new Lead and Copper Rule for drinking water. The three million dollars for the Lead and Copper Rule will be used for things like water filters and drinking water investigations in homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is pushing back against legislation to allow online casino gambling in Michigan.

Whitmer is worried that if people are playing online casino games, they won’t play state lottery games. Money from the state lottery goes toward the School Aid Fund for K-12 schools.

“I’ve said very clearly, over and over again, that protecting the School Aid Fund, ensuring that we get every dollar back into the education of our kids is my top priority,” says Whitmer.” So I’m going to have a hard time supporting anything that doesn’t protect that goal.”

farm field
Julie Falk / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Heavy rainfall throughout the spring has meant farmers across Michigan have run into trouble with their crops. Now the state Legislature has approved a $15 million spending bill. It would send the money to the Qualified Agricultural Loan Origination Program. That would allow farmers who have lost their crops to get low interest loans.

State Representative Mark Huizenga (R-Walker) is a bill sponsor.

woman getting ultrasound of stomach
sharshonm / Adobe Stock

Groups with ballot measures to restrict abortions in Michigan could be gathering signatures soon. A state board approved the 100-word summaries and forms of their petitions on Wednesday. Now the groups just need to get a final stamp of approval before they can start asking Michigan voters for their support.

close up of rainbow colored flag
Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the state Civil Rights Commission is not bound by her predecessor's determination that LGBTQ people are not protected by an anti-discrimination law. 

Over one thousand protesters gathered on the Capitol lawn Tuesday.
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan’s education advocates need to put pressure on state lawmakers. That’s in order to make sure schools are properly funded.

Whitmer joined more than one thousand education advocates that were protesting on the Capitol lawn Tuesday. The state school aid budget is still being worked out by lawmakers in the state Legislature. But protesters at the Capitol want to make sure that the final product has enough money for K-12 schools.

Trump supporters holding signs at a "Squash Amash" rally
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

Dozens of President Donald Trump supporters gathered for what they called a “Squash Amash” rally Friday. Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash has been under fire from his own party. 

Protestor holding up a sign that says "Safe Water" at a Flint Water Crisis protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After three years, the criminal probe into the Flint water crisis is back to square one.

The Flint Water Crisis prosecution team, working under the aegis of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, has dismissed without prejudice all pending criminal cases brought by the former Office of Special Counsel.

State capitol in Lansing Michigan
Henryk Sadura / Adobe Stock

Some Michigan lawmakers are trying – once again – to pass legislation that would require elected officials to file financial disclosures. It’s an issue that lawmakers have been trying to get past the finish line for decades.

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