Cheyna Roth

Capital Reporter

Cheyna Roth

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for 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.

Ways to Connect

Michael Gilmore / Flicker

Ten communities will decide Tuesday whether they want businesses to be able to sell recreational marijuana. Last November, the state passed a law legalizing recreational marijuana. Since then, the issue has slowly been debated in communities at the ballot box. 

“I would expect to see for the next several years many local ballot initiatives opting into recreational cannabis businesses in their communities,” said Robin Schneider, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association. The organization advocates for marijuana businesses.

Starting in October 2021, 17-year-olds will no longer automatically be treated as adults in Michigan’s criminal justice system. 


Democratic state lawmakers say all people need to be able to make independent decisions about their reproductive health. House Democrats announced their plan for a so-called Michigan Reproductive Health Act Tuesday.

Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

The online application process for the state’s new Independent Redistricting Commission is now open. People can now apply to be on the 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the launch of the online application process Thursday.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers say school buses need to be more secure.

A package of bills would make it a crime to enter a school bus without the permission of the driver. In some cases, it would be a felony. The buses would also be allowed to have a sticker saying that people trying to get on without permission could be arrested.

A bigger focus of the package of bills for student transportation advocates, involves preventing people from illegally passing stopped school buses.

Some lawmakers want to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from issuing rules restricting access and use of vaping products. Lawmakers debated the bill in front of a House committee Tuesday.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announces the new policy change at the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan lawmakers want to make it easier for people to apply for public assistance.

The governor will now have to decide if the criminal justice system should stop automatically treating 17-year-olds as adults.

Flicker / Vaping360.com

A Michigan Court of Claims judge says the state ban on flavored vaping products must be lifted.

That’s while underlying litigation opposing the ban plays out in court. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration issued emergency rules in September. The Department of Health and Human Services says youth vaping is a public health crisis. 

Some state lawmakers want to swap one holiday for another. Monday was Columbus Day, and a pair of bills would get rid of Columbus Day and make Indigenous Peoples Day a state holiday instead.

Bills that would raise the age of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction from 17 to 18-years-old are one step closer to the governor’s desk.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently recommended changes to bills on expunging criminal records. The bills are up for debate in the state Legislature.

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 Rep. 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 recently told the media to talk about what she would like to see in a supplemental spending bill.
Cheyna Roth

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Republican leaders to come back 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.

Kaye LaFond

Starting Wednesday, Michigan vape shops will have to stop selling flavored nicotine products. The final rules of the ban were announced two weeks ago. 

MPRN

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed all of the state’s budgets for the new spending year — and used a lot of red ink in the process.

One of the many items Whitmer said “no” to was millions of dollars in one-time funding toward the state’s roads. She also vetoed the School Aid budget.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been presented a budget by the state Legislature, and one area Whitmer might have an issue with the budget is the state’s new redistricting commission.

Thousands rally at the state Capitol against the state’s new auto insurance law.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Thousands rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday against Michigan’s auto insurance law. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed sweeping changes to the law in May that ended requirements for everyone to have unlimited, lifetime medical benefits for catastrophic car accidents.

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (left) and House Appropriations Chair Shane Hernandez (right) speak to the press after the House finished its budget votes on Tuesday.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

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

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

STEVE CARMODY / Michigan Radio

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

Flicker

Discussions to bring sports betting and online gaming to the state are on hold until Michigan has a budget.

Flicker

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.

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan has multiple steps it can take to ensure there’s enough energy for homes and businesses if  the state has another polar vortex this winter.

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.

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