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
 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

MichMash-July 19: Crime

Jul 19, 2019
Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Lawmakers still aren’t in session – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t introducing legislation. 

A new bill would expunge some misdemeanor marijuana convictions. 

MichMash host Cheyna Roth and special guest Mikenzie Frost of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group discuss a new theme in Lansing – lowering the cost of turning over a new leaf.

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.

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.

 

One of the most powerful people in Lansing is someone you may not know a lot about.

 

MichMash host Cheyna Roth and special guest Riley Beggin tell you more about Michigan’s Speaker of the House, who went from pastor’s son to power broker.

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.

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.

The U.S. Supreme Court says federal courts should stay out of disputes over partisan gerrymandering.

Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

BREAKING: The Supreme Court of the United States says that federal courts do NOT have a role in partisan gerrymandering cases.

Michigan currently has appealed a federal court's decision to the Supreme Court disputing claims that a Republican-led Legislature previously drew Michigan's district lines to their party's advantage.

The lower court ordered the state Legislature and governor to agree on new lines for certain districts for 20-20.

This decision will likely end that lawsuit - leaving Michigan's lines exactly how they are for the next election.

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

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.

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.”

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

A jury has found a former Michigan State University dean guilty of a felony and two misdemeanors. William Strampel was dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine for more than a decade. The jury found that he used his position to try and get sexual favors from female students.

A jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday in the trial of former Michigan State University dean William Strampel.

Strampel was the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU. Strampel is accused of sexual assault, using his position to solicit sexual favors from female students, and failing to properly oversee Larry Nassar. Nassar is the former MSU sports doctor serving a de-facto life sentence for child pornography and sexually assaulting his patients.

The state department in charge of Michigan’s prisons is not happy with a proposed spending plan in the state Legislature.

A spending plan for the Michigan Department of Corrections passed out of a state House committee. It would redirect millions of dollars that previous budgets had allocated for certain projects – like prison maintenance – to other priorities.

Republican lawmakers are trying to find ways to raise more money for the roads. But they want to avoid Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed 45-cent fuel tax increase.

A new idea to raise money to fix the state’s roads involves selling state assets to pay for the infrastructure.

The Republican leadership in the state House and Senate has filed a challenge to a recent opinion by Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The law in question makes it more difficult to put a measure on the state’s ballot. The law was enacted during a hectic lame duck session last year.

In May, Nessel issued a formal opinion that said that portions of the law were unconstitutional – in particular, a portion that limits the number of signatures a measure can have from a given geographic area.

Some Republicans in the state Senate have introduced bills (SB 357 & SB 358) that would drastically limit when a woman can get an abortion.

Minors in Michigan soon won’t be able to vape. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bills into law Tuesday. They ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors – currently a federal law. And they ban the use of e-cigarettes by minors.

Schools across the state have called minors vaping an “epidemic.”

Some lawmakers have been trying for decades to expand the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. New bills would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the act. That would mean that people could not be denied housing or be fired simply because they are LGBTQ.

Supporters say they think this will be the year the protections cross the finish line. Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) said LGBTQ people now have a friend in the governor’s office and more Republicans are on board with the proposal than before.


State lawmakers will start discussions this week about whether they – and other elected officials – should have to produce personal financial disclosures.        

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. That’s a nonpartisan watchdog organization that follows money in politics.

Mauger says bills up for debate in a state House committee on Wednesday would help the public get a better sense of who their lawmakers are. And see potential conflicts of interest.

“We simply don’t know now. We are on a trust me basis now," Mauger says.

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