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

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued her first executive directive as Michigan’s governor. The directive requires state department employees to report threats to public health, safety or welfare up the chain of command, and it requires those threats to be investigated.

“We thought this was an important way to lead on the first day. To tell state employees we listen to them, and public health is paramount to anyone’s ego, to anyone’s agenda, to any one department’s arena,” says Whitmer.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to know if a law passed during last year’s lame duck session is constitutional, and she’s enlisted new Attorney General Dana Nessel to look into the matter.

Outgoing governor Rick Snyder signed a law before leaving office. It created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority. That authority will oversee a tunnel to house a new section of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. That pipeline carries oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac.

Cheyna Roth

Republicans in the state Legislature are trying to increase their power and limit the powers of statewide offices that – come January – will flip to Democrats. 

The State House made a few minor changes to the bills that the state Senate signed off on before sending the bills to the governor.

Less than a month after the midterm elections, Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan are working to limit the powers of newly elected Democrats in statewide office.

Just two days after the Nov. 6 election in Wisconsin, when Democrat Tony Evers beat two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said a lame-duck session agenda was already taking shape.

The state’s minimum wage might not reach 12 dollars an hour until 2030. That’s if proposed changes to a recently adopted law finish making their way through the state Legislature. The state Senate passed the changes Wednesday.

The state Legislature is moving forward with changes to a citizen initiative on paid sick leave. The measure to require employers to offer earned, paid sick time got enough signatures to make the November ballot. But the Senate pre-empted that – in an effort to scale it back before it becomes law.

Public school advocates and the ACLU of Michigan want the Michigan Supreme Court to take their case. They want the court to reverse a decision that lets the state give public money to private schools in certain cases.

Lou Anna K. Simon sits with one of her attorneys, Lee Silver.
Cheyna Roth

The former president of Michigan State University was arraigned on Monday on felony and misdemeanor charges surrounding her involvement with the school’s handling of serial sexual predator, Larry Nassar.

The former president of Michigan State University was arraigned Monday on felony and misdemeanor charges surrounding her involvement with the school's handling of serial sexual predator, Larry Nassar. Attorneys for Lou Anna K. Simon say she pleaded not guilty, and plans to fight the charges. Officials say Simon lied to or mislead law enforcement officers about her knowledge of details about a Title IX investigation by the school into Nassar.

Former Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon is scheduled to be in front of a judge Monday for an arraignment. Simon is charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors for allegedly lying to law enforcement.

Law enforcement officials say Simon falsely said she didn’t know certain details about an investigation into Larry Nassar in 2014. Nassar is the former MSU sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for decades.

Lee Silver is Simon’s attorney. He says his client is innocent.

Gretchen Whitmer will become Michigan's 49th governor on New Year's Day.
Whitmer for Governor

Republicans’ eight-year run of complete control over state government has come to an end. By 10 p.m. on Election Night, the writing was on the wall – Republicans would not hold the governor’s office.


When it comes to identifying a state politically, the shorthand is often “red state” for Republican or “blue state” for Democratic.

But Michigan’s shade is a bit more nuanced.


The November election is weeks away, and Tuesday is the last day for Michigan residents to register to vote.

The election will decide the state’s next governor, attorney general and secretary of state among many other races.

State House and Senate, U.S. Senate and ballot initiatives – oh my.

After a high turnout in the primary, Michigan’s former state Elections Director is predicting about four million voters will head to the polls on November 6th – which would be a pretty high turnout for a midterm.

MARK BRUSH / MICHIGAN RADIO

Governor Synder says he's reached an agreement to eventually decomission and replace a controversial pipeline that runs under the straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge's Line 5 transports crude oil and natural gas liquid.

The plan is to build a multi-use utility tunnel under the Straits, with a new line inside the tunnel.

Environmental groups have been concerned about the devastating impact a spill could have on the Great Lakes.

Mike Shriberg is with the National Wildlife Federation, he says environmental groups aren't impressed with the plan.

Governor Rick Snyder still can’t build a bridge between a union and a construction trade association to end a roadwork stoppage across the state.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) might be in for a shakeup – and Michigan could feel the effects.

President Donald Trump has been negotiating with the US’s neighbors to the north and south. Mexico, the US and Canada have been trying to negotiate a new trade deal for about a year.  While Mexico seems to be on board with small changes – the bigger impact on Michigan has to do with Canada.

Cheyna Roth

Michigan State University has named a search committee to find a new president.

Larry Nassar’s attempt to have a new judge consider his appeal in Ingham County has been denied. Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years.

Nassar is working through the appeals process – and he wants to be resentenced. But first he wants a different judge to consider his request for a new sentence. Nassar says Judge Rosemarie Aquilina was not fair and impartial when she sentenced him to up to 175 years in prison.

Kenny Eishoff, WDIV

The Republican candidates for governor have been battling it out for months. There’s more money being spent on the Republican primary than recent years – and it’s being used to help the candidates go after each other.

The Michigan primary is fast approaching. Democrats and Republicans will head to the polls Tuesday to decide who they want to represent their party in the November governor’s race. Three Democratic candidates hope they’ll be chosen, and money – and the television ads it buys – has played an interesting role in the Democratic race so far.

Aaron Selbig

Some lawmakers in Lansing say the entire Straits of Mackinac need to be an anchor free zone – permanently.

Governor Rick Snyder temporarily made the Straits an anchor free zone. That was after an anchor damaged the oil and gas pipeline, Enbridge Line 5, and caused cables to leak mineral oil into the water.

A group trying to get a redistricting measure on the November ballot says arguments against the measure by the state Attorney General are redundant.

 

Michigan Department of Corrections

Michigan’s prisons face a crisis: The state cannot find enough corrections officers to staff them. Older officers are retiring, others are quitting, and there are hundreds of officer positions waiting to be filled.

For corrections officers, like Lorraine Emery, that shortage means an exhausting, dangerous job is getting even tougher.

Michigan’s top prosecutor is on board with proposed changes to how the state parole board determines if an inmate can be released from prison.

 

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