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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs first bill into law

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Michigan governor's office
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed her first bill into law on Thursday. The new law will keep a judge’s seat in a court in the Upper Peninsula.

Representative Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) represents part of the Upper Peninsula, including Menominee County, where the judge will be. He sponsored a similar bill in the state House.

“We want to make sure that judges don’t have to drive 250 miles to ensure the due process rights of everybody,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re in Monroe or Menominee. You have a right to due process and that means you've got to have a judge close by.”

The current judge plans to retire at the end of the month. Under state law, his retirement would have eliminated the district judge position due to attrition.

The bipartisan legislation passed unanimously in the state Legislature.

“So as the governor has said many times before, the governor is willing to work with anyone who’s willing to work with her,” said Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown. “And I do think it’s important that the first bill that she signed into law was a bipartisan bill.”

The law will also help the community create a drug treatment court to, in part, combat the opioid epidemic.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the 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. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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