Cheyna Roth


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
 

Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto controversial anti-abortion legislation if it reaches her desk. As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about ways these bills could become law despite Whitmer’s opposition.

Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is wielding the power of the veto pen in Lansing. This week, she exercised a line-item veto on a bill to refill the state’s fund to compensate people who were wrongfully convicted, citing her pledge to veto appropriations in policy bills. And she has threatened to veto Republican plans to overhaul Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance system.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about another bill that could soon head to Whitmer’s desk, which would regulate e-cigarettes and vaping.

 

The fruity smell associated with vape pens is a new normal in schools across Michigan, including Belding High School, east of Grand Rapids. That’s despite it being banned by its administration.

Some lawmakers in Lansing say they have a plan to protect elderly people in the state. A bipartisan bill package (HB 4254-4260 and HB 4265) is expected to be voted out of a House committee this week.

The legislation is focused on protecting elderly and vulnerable adults from physical and financial abuse. Some bills would create new laws that would provide increased penalties for assaulting an elderly person.

State Representative Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) is a bill sponsor. She says people’s livelihoods and peace of mind are at stake.

Controversial bills to ban a certain type of abortion procedure are scheduled for a state House committee hearing next week.

The bills (HB 4320 and 4321) would ban the “dilation and evacuation” or D-and-E procedure. The legislation has been moving steadily through the state House. That’s despite a likely veto by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Representative Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township) is a bill sponsor. She said during a hearing that the state should ban the “dilation and evacuation” or D-and-E procedure because she says it’s barbaric.

Michigan students are a signature away from getting four snow days forgiven after a brutal winter left some schools closed for weeks. The state Senate sent the bill to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk Thursday.

This comes after a dust-up between Republicans and Democrats on details of the bill. Earlier this week, Democrats prevented the bill from getting immediate effect – which would have effectively killed the bill.

A controversial provision in a budget bill (SB 135) would penalize communities with sanctuary city policies. A state Senate committee passed its version of the Michigan Department of Corrections budget on Wednesday.

The budget includes a provision that would penalize communities with policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with federal officials on immigration issues. They would lose a jail reimbursement.

Michigan students may not get any additional snow days forgiven this year.

The state Senate unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday that would have forgiven four state declared emergency snow days. But after that vote, several Democrats voted to not give the bill immediate effect. It’s a procedural move which renders the bill useless because it would not take effect until well after the school year has ended.

Action on the state’s budget is expected to pick up this week.

The state Senate Appropriations committee will consider and possibly vote on multiple budgets – including for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those budgets moving through the Senate include large cuts to what Governor Gretchen Whitmer recommended in her proposed budget. 

Amber McCann is a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.

“It was strictly to put those discretionary dollars that we have at our disposal toward things, for instance, like accelerating road funding,” says McCann.

Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Republican state lawmakers and Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer appear to be headed for a possible showdown on the state budget and road funding. But as part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about one area where Democrats and Republicans seem to be coming together.

Some members of law enforcement hope Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoes legislation headed for her desk.

The Legislature passed bills to change the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws on Thursday. The bills would require a criminal conviction before law enforcement can keep a person’s property worth less than $50,000. Law enforcement only needs probable cause in order to take it.

More money could be added to the state’s wrongful conviction fund. Lawmakers sent a bill to add $10 million to the fund to the governor’s desk on Thursday.

The money set aside for people who were wrongfully convicted is almost gone.

State Representative Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) is a bill sponsor.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

A federal court in Michigan says that the state's Republican-controlled legislature unfairly drew some of Michigan's state legislative and U.S. House district lines and that a divided government will have to come up with new boundaries.

A panel of three judges said that 27 of 34 challenged districts diluted the weight of people's votes and that every challenged district is unconstitutional.

The US District Court has ruled that Michigan's congressional and legislative maps are unconstitutionally gerrymandered, ordering the state Legislature to redraw at least 34 districts for the 2020 election.


The Legislature held key votes on Wednesday on bills that would make various changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

The state Senate passed a series of bills that some lawmakers say will make the criminal justice system fairer for young people. The so-called “Raise the Age” legislation would automatically treat 17-year-olds as juveniles for certain crimes. Right now, they’re automatically tried as adults.

“We want to make sure our kids are not hindered because they’ve made poor decisions in their youth,” said bill sponsor Senator Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit).

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