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
 

The latest version of changes to the state’s teacher retirement plan passed through committees Wednesday. The changes were announced late Tuesday and received committee hearings early Wednesday morning.  

The House and Senate adopted identical amendments to bills their respective chambers had already introduced.

Democrats have largely been left out of behind the scenes negotiations between the governor and leaders of the House and Senate. Democratic Representative Winne Brinks voiced her frustration with the speed the bills were moving during a committee hearing.

A deal for the state’s budget and teacher retirement has been made.

Top Republican lawmakers and Governor Rick Snyder have been in a stalemate over what to do with the teacher’s retirement plan.

But now a deal is in place.

The current teacher retirement plan gives teachers the option between a straight 401K and a hybrid 401K and pension-type plan.

Republicans in Lansing are trying to roll back the state’s Medicaid expansion – but their legislation may be dead on arrival.

Governor Rick Snyder has been an advocate for the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion at home and in Washington, D.C.

But some Republicans in the state House want to close the expansion to all new enrollees beginning October 1st. HB 4598 is currently waiting for its first committee hearing.

The state House passed controversial gun legislation today to get rid of the permit necessary to carry a concealed weapon.

Advocates say you already don’t need a permit to open carry.

Colleges are allowed to ban guns on their campuses.

 

The state is hammering out its budget. And lawmakers are having a sharp disagreement with the governor’s office over one of Michigan’s biggest price tags – the corrections budget. Both sides agree rehabilitation and lowering recidivism is the way to go. But they can’t agree on how much money to spend this year.

At stake are programs – like the Vocational Village in Ionia – that have helped lower the state’s incarceration rate.

Some Democrats in the Legislature are calling for a law that would allow authorities to seize the firearms of people who threaten to commit suicide or hurt others.

 

State officials and health care providers called on Washington lawmakers to keep the state’s Medicaid expansion Monday.

From doctors to the state budget director, the message is clear. Let the state keep its Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion. In order to do that, the federal government needs to keep paying for it.

But right now lawmakers in Washington are churning out plans that don’t seem to coincide with this goal.

Controversial legislation surrounding license plate fundraising is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Republican lawmakers have tried for years to pass similar legislation. The bill would create a Choose Life fundraising license plate with proceeds going to the Choose Life Fund for nonprofit organizations for, “life-affirming programs and projects.”

The Choose Life Fund was created by Right to Life of Michigan – an anti-abortion group.

Democrats in the House attempted to pass several amendments to broaden the scope of where proceeds would go. All failed.

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.

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