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
 

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Governor Whitmer has eliminated funding for Pure Michigan. It was one of almost 150 line-item vetoes Whitmer made before signing the new state budget.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk with Gongwer’s Alethia Kasben  about what that means for the state’s popular tourism campaign.

A state lawmaker says she felt “forced” by the Speaker of the House to remove a gun free zone sign from her state House office. Democratic State Representative Kara Hope (D-Holt) put up the sign last month. She says for the safety and comfort of her staff, she didn’t want any firearms in her office.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Republican leaders to come to the bargaining table.

Earlier this week, Whitmer announced more than 100 line item vetoes that she made in the state budgets, and she moved money around within departments (that’s something she can do without the approval of the Legislature).

During a press conference on Wednesday, Whitmer announced that she wants to take a lot of the money that won’t be spent on the items she vetoed, and put those toward a new supplemental budget.

Starting Wednesday, Michigan vape shops will have to stop selling flavored nicotine products.

The final rules of the ban were announced two weeks ago. They were put in place by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. The state says that young people vaping has become a public health crisis.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed $375 million in one-time road funding. The governor finished signing all 16 state budgets hours before the October 1st deadline.

Whitmer says she had to make the 147 line-item vetoes to protect Michigan residents. In a recorded statement on Instagram, Whitmer said the budgets sent to her by the Republican-controlled Legislature were “built on phony numbers, using funds in the wrong way, usurping executive power. These are important things that I had to eliminate from these budgets.”

The state cannot restrict the number of signatures a ballot initiative can get from a single Congressional district.

That is part of the ruling out of the Court of Claims Friday. Several groups – including the League of Women Voters and the Republican-led state House and Senate – sued the Secretary of State, though hoping for different outcomes. This is over a law signed last year that adds restrictions to how people can get signatures for ballot initiatives.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

The October First deadline to pass a state budget and avoid a partial government shutdown is fast approaching in Michigan.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about Republican attempts to scale back funding for Michigan’s new redistricting commission.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the budgets on their way to her desk are “a mess.”

The Legislature voted out the rest of the state budgets Tuesday, including the education and transportation budgets.

Lawmakers at the state Capitol will start looking at bills to take certain crimes off people’s criminal records. A committee hearing on a package of bills is scheduled for Tuesday.

The goal is to expand the state’s expungement laws. That way more people could set aside criminal convictions for low level crimes or those that happened long ago.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

Michigan lawmakers have struck a deal to fund K-12 schools when the new fiscal year starts in October. House Democrats negotiated the deal with the Republican majority… without Governor Gretchen Whitmer at the table.

 

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about how that might affect the governor’s ability to get things done going forward.

Republicans and Democrats in the state House have come to an agreement on the state’s K-12 education budget.

The details won’t be released until tomorrow when a committee will vote on the plan.

Plans to make Michigan a sports betting state are moving through the state Legislature. A package of bills is scheduled to be voted out of a House committee Tuesday.

The bills would create a Division of Sports Betting in the state’s Gaming Control Board. If passed, the division would create rules, license sports betting establishments and oversee organizations with sports betting licenses.

Opponents of expanding gambling in the state say it could negatively impact the state lottery, which puts money toward the state’s schools.

A state lawmaker wants to close a loophole in Michigan’s marital rape law. A person currently cannot be convicted of rape solely because they had sexual intercourse with their spouse, while the spouse was mentally incapacitated.

It’s an exception in the state’s marital rape laws. And Representative Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) has introduced a bill to get rid of the exception.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

There are many ways interest groups try to get lawmakers to pay attention to their pet issues. Some hold rallies on the state Capitol lawn. Others choose to operate behind-the-scenes.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about the record amount of money lobbyists are spending at restaurants in 2019 to influence state policy.

A democratic state lawmaker wants the state Capitol to reverse its ban on signs.

The Capitol currently prohibits protestors and other people from bringing signs into the building.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Supporters of the vaping industry in Michigan are threatening legal action over a plan to ban flavored vaping products.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about what authority the governor has to ban an entire product in the name of public health.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Supporters of the vaping industry in Michigan are threatening legal action over a plan to ban flavored vaping products.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about what authority the governor has to ban an entire product in the name of public health.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

April of next year marks the six-year anniversary of the start of the Flint Water Crisis. That’s significant… because state law gives prosecutors six years to charge public officials for misconduct.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about an effort to extend the statute of limitations in those cases.

The state House of Representatives says it’s in the best interest of the state if Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) resigns. The House passed a resolution Thursday.

Inman has been in a legal battle since May. He’s federally charged with attempted extortion, solicitation of a bribe, and lying to the FBI.

The director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Agustin Arbulu, has been fired.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted to fire Arbulu during a meeting Tuesday night.

Arbulu has been under scrutiny since early August, when the commission announced that it had formally reprimanded him. An employee of the Department of Civil Rights, Todd Heywood, had reported that Arbulu made sexually charged comments about a woman outside a work event.

Some lawmakers in Lansing want to take away the licenses of medical professionals who sexually assault their patients under the guise of treatment. Bills to do that and others aimed at helping victims of sexual assault passed out of a state House committee Tuesday.

The state Legislature plans to go back to its normal schedule this week.

Republicans in the state House plan to keep working on a budget and road funding plan they can agree on along with the Senate and Governor Gretchen Whitmer, but they’ve got other priorities too.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Michigan lawmakers are back to work after their summer break. The clock is ticking to get a state budget done before the new fiscal year starts in October.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about what happens if it doesn’t get done.

Faith based adoption and foster agencies might be allowed to keep turning away prospective parents based on their sexual orientation. That’s if a federal judge allows it while an underlying lawsuit plays out.

In March, Attorney General Dana Nessel settled a different lawsuit – the terms of the settlement prevent the state from working with agencies that discriminate based on sexual orientation.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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