Jake Neher

Jake Neher is a state Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. 

He joined MPRN in September of 2012. Before that he served as a reporter and anchor for WFUV Public Radio in the Bronx, New York, and as News Director for KBRW Public Radio in Barrow, Alaska. He has been working in radio in some capacity since he was 15 years old.

A native of southeast Michigan, Jake graduated from Central Michigan University in 2010. He has a master's degree in public communications from Fordham University.

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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.

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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.

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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.

MichMash - EGLE

Apr 19, 2019
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Say goodbye to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The MDEQ gets a name change on Monday. It will be called the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

As part of the weekly series MichMash… Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about what that and other changes to the department mean for Michiganders.

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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has finished her tour of every branch office in the state. Benson says she’s working to make sure she keeps her campaign promise of guaranteeing wait times of no longer than 30 minutes.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about how long it might take before we can expect those shorter wait times at the Secretary of State’s office.

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The Michigan State Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments about Michigan’s minimum wage and paid sick leave laws. As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth explain the question is whether lawmakers acted legally when they gutted those laws during last year’s lame duck session.

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Michigan is one of the only states where the Legislature and the governor don’t have to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, also known as FOIA. A state House panel approved bills to end that exemption during what’s known as Sunshine Week, a time to call attention to issues of government transparency. But some government watchdog groups are still not happy.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher shine some light on why they’re concerned.

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Recreational marijuana is now legal in Michigan. But some Michigan voters aren’t done casting ballots on cannabis issues.


As part of the weekly series MichMash… Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about new grassroots efforts around marijuana laws.

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is picking up where former Attorney General Bill Schuette left off on three major investigations. They include probes into the Flint Water Crisis… the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal… and Catholic priest abuse in Michigan.

As part of the weekly series MichMash… Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about how those investigations are rising above partisan politics.

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The Michigan legislature will have more than 24 billion dollars to work with as it gets ready to kick off its budget process in 2019. That’s the finding of economists and state officials as they met at the state Capitol Friday.  As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about the political implications of that number.

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We’re beginning to get a clearer picture of what state government might look like under Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer. She named a number of top cabinet positions this week.

As part of the weekly series Mich Mash… Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about how these picks might affect some of the biggest issues facing Michigan.

Democratic state lawmakers are again hoping to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said recently that more people who have died or moved out of state must be removed from the state’s voter registration database before lawmakers will agree to stop putting conditions on who can vote absentee.

Some state lawmakers want to give voters an alternative to the May 5th ballot proposal to boost funding for roads. That measure would raise the sales tax from six percent to seven percent.

State Representative Anthony Forlini wants to pass a backup plan to raise the money. It would only take effect if voters reject the sales tax increase.

Michigan teens would be able to pre-register to vote under a proposal in Lansing.

The measure would allow 16 and 17 year olds to fill out their voter registration paperwork when they get their driver’s licenses. The state would mail their voter cards when they turn 18.

The state has rejected ACT’s claim that Michigan unfairly switched its free college entrance exam to the SAT starting in spring 2016.

  ACT protested two aspects of the bidding process. It said the state changed the timeline of the proposed contract and penalized ACT for having a writing portion. It says both of those things unfairly benefitted SAT.

State officials say they reviewed those concerns carefully.

A group of Republican state lawmakers will try again to protect religious practices against state and local government interference.

The Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) failed to pass before the legislative session ended last year.

State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, introduced the bill again this week.

“It’s simply all about protecting and preserving the rights that the Constitution provides for all citizens – not just select groups of citizens,” he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take same-sex marriage cases from Michigan and three other states. The high court will decide this term whether the states' bans are constitutional.

In its decision to hear the case, the Supreme Court said the cases will be consolidated to answer two questions. From the decision:

The state needs to do more to protect kids in child care. That’s according to a new policy brief from the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The document says the state would need to hire 140 additional child care facility inspectors to the 70 now working to make caseloads manageable.

Public officials and advocates are asking for help to clear a massive backlog of rape kits in Detroit.

More than 11,000 unopened and untested rape kits were found in a Detroit police storage unit in 2009. Since then, at least 2,000 have been tested.

Officials are now launching an unprecedented fundraising effort to help clear the rest of the backlog. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the Detroit Crime Commission, and the Michigan Women’s Foundation are calling the collaboration Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit).

A bill in front of Gov. Rick Snyder would require the state to find out how much it costs to educate a student in Michigan.

The legislation would require the state to find a qualified vendor to conduct the study. It would have to be completed within a year. At that point the findings would be presented to the governor and the Legislature.

Governor Rick Snyder may soon approve a commission to review the state’s criminal justice policies.

Advocates say the state needlessly warehouses some inmates who would not threaten public safety if released. They say that’s a major reason Michigan spends $2 billion a year on its corrections system.

The commission would make recommendations to the Legislature on ways to safely reform the state’s criminal justice system.

A group of semi-truck drivers made some noise Tuesday outside the state Capitol.

Several 18-wheelers circled the building with horns blaring to protest legislation that would increase fines and fees for overweight vehicles. It’s likely to be part of a compromise plan to increase funding to fix Michigan’s roads.

State Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, says too many lawmakers are blaming truckers for poor road conditions.

“What are some of the folks here doing? They’re pointing fingers at them as if they’re the problem – and, ‘Go get ‘em!’ I think they’re frustrated with that and I think they’ve had enough,” said Casperson.

Supporters of a religious freedom bill in the state Legislature are pushing back against recent criticism. The legislation is meant to protect religious practices against state and local government interference.

It appears there hasn’t been much progress toward finding a way to boost state road funding in the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders met early on Monday to try to get the discussions rolling in the Legislature’s final week in 2014.

Student athletes at Michigan’s public universities would be banned from unionizing under a bill approved by the state House on Tuesday. House Bill 6074 passed on a party-line vote.

“I don’t think we want to send the message to high school athletes that, gee, we want you to come to college and be a part-time university employee,” said Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, who sponsored the bill.

“We want you to come to college and get a great education. We want you to come to college and get an education that’s going to give you lifetime benefits.”

But state Representative Andy Schor, D-Lansing, points to the fact that there have been no reports of student athletes trying to unionize in Michigan.

Gov. Rick Snyder will decide whether to extend Michigan’s film credit program through 2021.

The incentives are currently set to expire in 2017. The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the extension Tuesday morning with bipartisan support.

The state House has approved bills meant to reduce prison costs in Michigan. But the sponsor of the legislation says the bills have been “gutted.”

State Representative Joe Haveman, R-Holland, says provisions were taken out that would have kept more people out of prison.

Supporters of adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they have enough votes in the Legislature to pass a bill before the end of the year. But they say that’s only if Republican leaders take up a version of the bill that includes protections for gender identity.

Activists say a bill that leaves out protections for transgender people would cause more harm than good.

Bills that seek to reduce prison spending in Michigan seem to have momentum going into the last weeks of the Legislature’s 2014 session.

Michigan spends about $2 billion every year on prisons. The legislation seeks to reduce the length of some prison stays and provide more supervision for people after they are released from prison.

The most widely supported proposal would create a commission to oversee sentencing guidelines and discuss other corrections policies.

“It creates a forum for exploring all this. And it’s something Michigan badly needs,” said Barbara Levine with the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending.

State education officials are preparing to implement new science standards in schools. The state Board of Education could adopt the standards as soon as next month.

The board hopes to avoid another battle with state lawmakers over the standards. The Legislature last year threatened to stop funding new standards for math and English known as the Common Core State Standards.

“This is the role and the authority of the state Board of Education to adopt state standards,” said Martin Ackley, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). “What we plan on doing and will do is inform the Legislature on these proposed standards.”

“We plan on sending a report to the Legislature on these proposed new standards for science in the state of Michigan,” he said.

Critics of both the Common Core and these current standards claim they take away local control of what is taught in schools.

State education officials hope the Next Generation standards will boost achievement in science. Less than 20 percent of Michigan students passed the state science exam last year.

Ed. note: This post has been updated to delete references to “Next Generation” standards. It's not clear if the standards will be presented as Michigan-specific standards that borrow heavily from NG.