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

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Democratic lawmakers are criticizing remarks by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). 

Shirkey said allowing abortion is comparable to “the scourge we endured when we still had slavery in this country.”

Democratic Senator Erica Geiss (D-Taylor) is African American. She said the remarks are insensitive and out of touch.

“I don’t think comparing something that is a reproductive choice…that is really nobody’s business except between her and her physician has any place in a conversation about slavery,” Geiss said.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state lawmaker says he wants to get ahead of technological improvements in 3D printing. 

A new bill would ban 3D printed firearms. It was introduced by Democratic Representative Abdullah Hammoud. He says the technology to print components of firearms and then assemble them with other parts into guns is still new and 3D printers are expensive, but they’ve gotten cheaper over the years.

He says as technology improvements make the printers more accessible, the Legislature needs to think ahead.

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LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Lying to your landlord about needing an emotional support animal could become a crime in the state. 

Michigan Public Radio Network’s Cheyna Roth reports bills in the state House would make it a misdemeanor.

Concerns over the bills include a potential “chilling effect” on people with mental health problems getting emotional support animals.

Democratic Representative Sara Cambensy is a bill sponsor. She doesn’t think that would be a problem.

“I think the people that need them will seek them out, regardless of our bill package.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A bipartisan group of lawmakers say school busses 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 busses 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 busses.

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state wants to make it easier for people to apply for public assistance. 

This is all about the amount of assets a person can have and still qualify for food and cash assistance and State Emergency Relief. Starting November first, people can have up to $15,000 in assets and still be eligible for help. That’s thousands of dollars more than they could previously, and now the amount will be the same for all three programs.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   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.

But vaping shops across the state said the ban would cause them to have to shut down. And they said it would harm their customers – who use vaping to stop cigarette smoking.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some state lawmakers want to swap one holiday for another. Monday is Columbus Day, and a pair of bills would get rid of Columbus Day and make Indigenous Peoples Day a state holiday instead.

“More and more residents are coming around to the idea that rather than celebrate the barbarous history of Columbus, we should instead celebrate the very real and present and positive history of native people here in Michigan,” said bill sponsor, Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Should you have to opt in or opt out of getting a recreational passport when you renew your registration? That’s a question currently up for debate in the state Legislature. 

New legislation would require people to opt out of paying for an annual pass to state parks.

Democratic Representative Tenisha Yancey has concerns. She says it’s easy for people to get into a routine with renewing their registration, and just not realize that they have to opt out of something.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state Attorney General has recommendations for changes to bills on expunging criminal records. The bills are up for debate in the state Legislature.

At a Tuesday hearing in front of a House Judicial committee, Nessel said she is, overall, in support of expanding the state’s laws to set aside some crimes on a person’s criminal record. But she had ideas that she said could improve the bills.

One area of concern was a bill to automatically remove certain crimes from a person’s record after 10 years.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   There are big changes ahead for the Law School Admission Test, thanks to a lawsuit filed by a Michigan man.