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

Michigan may start tracking its sexual assault evidence kits. An amendment to the state’s budget would pay for the required software and training.

The kits contain swabs and other evidence gathered from a victim of sexual assault. Software would track the kit as it moves from hospital to police department to laboratory. It also sends out alerts if a kit has been in one location too long. 

“It’s gonna open up an opportunity for checks and balances and that’s absolutely what we need for these,” said Representative Laura Cox, R-Livonia. “These are very, very important kits.”

Members of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus met with the head of the Michigan State Police Thursday.


The meeting was to address concerns about a meme Colonel Kriste Etue posted on Facebook. It called NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem “degenerates.”


Members of the caucus called for Etue’s resignation or firing.

  Michigan’s Speaker of the House has his eye on a new government position for 2019.


The state legislature held a marathon committee hearing on a bill to overhaul Michigan’s auto insurance law Tuesday. The committee heard ideas for potential changes to the bill.

One idea is to prevent insurance companies from using credit scores to influence rates.

Mayor Mike Duggan had a major hand in crafting the bill the committee discussed. He said he’d like to see changes to the bill; but he said the focus needs to be on passing immediate rate relief.

Another Democrat entered the ring for Michigan’s Attorney General Thursday.

Pat Miles is a former U.S. Attorney for Michigan’s Western District. He was appointed to the U.S. Attorney post by President Barack Obama. He voluntarily resigned when President Donald Trump took office.

Trump’s election was a driving force behind Miles’s decision to run, he said.

“We need somebody who will be an independent watchdog and who doesn’t answer to a president, a governor, or to corporate special interests, but only answers to the people,” Miles said.

Lawmakers in Lansing say they want a seamless transition as marijuana dispensaries start to get licensed.

Democrats in the House and Senate introduced legislation today. A few Republicans have voiced support of the bills. The legislation would let dispensaries keep their doors open while they wait for a license.

A bipartisan group in Michigan rolled out a new auto no-fault insurance overhaul plan today.

Republican Speaker of the House, Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, and Detroit’s mayor, Mike Duggan, have been working together for months on the plan.

Lawmakers from both parties have tried for years to pass changes to Michigan’s auto insurance laws. Duggan said the legislation isn’t perfect for Democrats or Republicans. But he thinks he can get bipartisan support.  

The Trump administration recently announced new guidance for how college campuses should handle sexual assault complaints. But Michigan universities won’t be changing their policies right away.

The Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault last week.

The new guidance isn’t mandatory, and officials say it’s temporary until they come up with new rules.

Daniel Hurley is the CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. He said Michigan campuses will keep their current policies for now.

The state is going to allow all-in-one medical marijuana facilities. The state’s licensing department today said it plans to let one person grow, process and sell marijuana – and do it all in one facility.

Andrew Brisbo is Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Bureau director. He says the plan isn’t set in stone yet. But Brisbo says the bureau wants to make sure people are aware of the intent.

The Michigan Civil Service Commission voted to limit the collective bargaining powers of 35,000 state employees Wednesday.

It got rid of an individual union's ability to bargain for things like seniority, overtime pay, and scheduling.

Republicans in Lansing worked at a breakneck speed Tuesday to pass legislation that would allow politicians in Michigan to solicit campaign contributions on behalf of political action committees.

An unlikely alliance has formed to overhaul Michigan’s auto no-fault system. Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, and Detroit’s mayor Mike Duggan met Tuesday.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Lansing say they have a plan to make auto insurance more affordable – without cutting benefits.

Representative Ben Frederick is a Republican. He says auto insurance cost is a topic that is constantly brought up. But he says nothing ever gets done about it.

“So this year we’re taking what has many might think is a forgotten approach in Lansing, and certainly long gone in DC – a bipartisan approach.”

It’s been seven years since the U.S. Supreme Court said corporations and labor unions can spend as much money as they want on political campaigns.

The court left it up to states to decide whether it institute their own limits. And today the Michigan Senate officially said, “No thanks.”

It passed legislation that would basically codify what the court said in its controversial Citizens United opinion.

A free market think-tank says the use of private contractors in public schools has grown over the last decade and a half.

Seventy percent of public school districts in Michigan forgo the search for janitors, bus drivers and cafeteria staff. Instead, those schools rely on private contractors for at least one of those services. In 2001 only about 30% of school districts outsourced services.

James Hohman is with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which conducted the study. He said no school can provide public education by itself.