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
 

A portion of the state Senate budget is getting pushback from the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission.

The Senate voted to move crime victim services out of the Department of Health and Human Services – and into the Attorney General’s Office.

The budget still has a few steps to go through before it’s finalized. So the commission drafted and unanimously passed a resolution urging lawmakers to reject an effort to move the state’s crime victim services, funding and programs into the Attorney General’s Office.

State lawmakers are quickly pushing through legislation to make female genital mutilation a state crime. About two weeks ago a Senate committee passed legislation that would make performing female genital mutilation a 15-year felony.

The legislation was introduced shortly after two Detroit area doctors were federally charged with conspiring to commit female genital mutilation on two young girls from Minnesota.

Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien, said the five-year federal penalty isn’t enough.

A battle is heating up in Lansing over the state’s corrections budget.

Republican Senator John Proos’ subcommittee on corrections passed a budget that cuts the Department of Corrections' budget by about $40 million. Proos said because the prison population is down, continuing to spend about the same amount each year means they are spending too much per prisoner.

Michigan’s attempts to privatize prison food services is still running into problems. The legislature approved outsourcing prison food service in 2012 to cut costs. But it canceled its first contract with Aramark in 2015, after numerous problems.

The state is stepping in to help struggling schools instead of closing them.

 

Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel was in Lansing Friday. Her visit comes on the heels of a controversial health care vote.

Democrats fought the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They say the Republican plan that would replace it has worse coverage and would cost millions their healthcare coverage. 

Romney McDaniel says the new plan will save American lives.

Law enforcement and pharmacists are working together to curb methamphetamine production in the state.

It’s called the “Anti-Smurfing Campaign.”

Smurfing is the practice of buying cold and allergy medicine – like  Sudafed – that contain meth ingredients, for meth cooks.

Some of Michigan’s top law enforcement members met Thursday to announce the launch. It’s a partnership with pharmacies to display posters discouraging the practice.

Democrats in Lansing have renewed their mission for a Voter Bill of Rights.

Democrats in the state House attempted to pass a resolution to amend the Michigan Constitution last year. This time, State Representative Jon Hoadley is spearheading the effort.

Hoadley said a Voter Bill of Rights would empower people and let them know their voices are heard.

“The entire process from registering to vote in Michigan to dropping your ballot in the ballot box hasn’t improved in 20 years while other states, Red and Blue, have left us in the dust,” he said.

A state Senate committee holds a hearing Tuesday on bills to outlaw female genital mutilation in Michigan.

It’s already a federal crime with a penalty of up to five years in prison. The bill’s sponsors say that’s not tough enough.

But a lot of experts say a tougher law may not be enough to deter an entrenched cultural and religious practice.

Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien says she was surprised to learn that Michigan didn’t already ban the practice of female genital mutilation.

Past and present public policies have a major impact on the disparities in child well-being in Michigan. That’s according to a report released Tuesday by the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The state House and Senate are playing volleyball with money to fix a sinkhole in Macomb County.

A House bill originally gave the city a three million dollar grant. It also approved millions of dollars for Flint.

The Senate changed Fraser’s $3 million grant to a $5 million dollar loan.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) said they did this in part to encourage other communities to maintain their infrastructure – instead of waiting for a crisis to get a handout from the state. 

A controversial item in the current budget is the focus of a lawsuit filed today.

 

The governor and legislature would be subject to public records requests, under bills approved by the state House today.

“When you exempt the governor and you exempt the state legislature from the Freedom of Information Act, it’s not true transparency,” said state Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, a bill sponsor. “So this is a victory for citizens of the state of Michigan and journalists alike to learn a little more about how their government works.”

It’s Sunshine Week – a time of year when issues of transparency and open government are put front and center.

It was standing room only at a relatively obscure state board meeting today.

The Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board heard a presentation from the oil and gas company that owns Line 5 – an oil and gas pipeline that runs along the bottom of Lake Michigan near the Mackinac Bridge.

“This pipeline is in as good a condition as it was the day it was installed. Our corrosion prevention system is doing its job," Kurt Baraniecki, director for Integrity Programs for Enbridge, told the board. "Our monitoring efforts are effective.”

Pages