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)--   The state of Michigan has promised to make sure adoption and foster agencies that receive state money do not discriminate against same sex couples. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a settlement in an ongoing federal lawsuit between the state and same sex couples. The couples tried to adopt through an agency that contracts with the state, but they were denied services because of their sexual orientation. The agency cited religious beliefs.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed her first bill into law Thursday.

The new law will keep a judge’s seat in a court in Menominee County.

Republican Representative Beau LaFave represents part of the Upper Peninsula – including Menominee County. He sponsored a similar bill in the state House.

“We want to make sure that judges don’t have to drive 250 miles to ensure the due process rights of everybody,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re in Monroe or Menominee. You have a right to due process and that means you got to have a judge close by.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A lawsuit against former Attorney General Bill Schuette will be decided by the highest court in Michigan. 

Several years ago, Progress Michigan started what would become a years-long court battle with then-attorney general Bill Schuette. The case is over whether Schuette and members of his office used private emails for public business.

Now the Michigan Supreme Court will decide if the attorney general’s office needs to do a review of all personal emails from Schuette’s time in office and turn over any that involve state business.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Lawmakers in the state House unanimously passed a group of bills they say will make state government more transparent. 

The bills would, in some cases, open the Governor’s office up to Freedom of Information requests. They would also create a new Legislative Open Records Act to allow for some records requests from state lawmakers.

Republican Representative Daire Rendon is a bill sponsor. She says Michigan is one of only two states that doesn’t allow for records requests from the governor and Legislature.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State lawmakers want to give librarians immunity from any issues that could arise if they administer opioid overdose medication. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth says a state House committee passed the bills Tuesday.

The quiet, secluded nature of libraries makes them an attractive place for some drug users to get their fix.

Librarians can administer overdose medication like NARCAN. But some don’t carry it because they could be sued if something goes wrong.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Law enforcement in Michigan wants to make it illegal for minors to possess vaping products and for retailers to sell e-cigarettes to minors. 

But an ongoing debate in the state Legislature has police and prosecutors frustrated.

Former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed legislation to ban the sale and possession of e-cigarettes for minors. He said e-cigarettes should be classified and regulated like tobacco instead. But now, lawmakers in Lansing are trying to – once again – focus on the sale, not the classification.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   It could be a challenge to end the practice of shifting money meant for K-12 education to higher education.  

Michigan has been using money budgeted for the School Aid Fund toward higher education for almost a decade – and Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it’s time to stop. But that means money for higher education would have to come from the general fund.

Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) chairs the House Appropriations committee. He said he’s willing to consider the move – but it would take time and likely have to be phased in.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan’s cash bail system needs an overhaul. That’s the message of bipartisan legislation introduced in the state House and Senate.

Representative Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) wants to get rid of the requirement that parents who owe back child support pay bail to get out jail before they see a judge.

“Being in jail they cannot pay the child support,” Brann said. “So it’s just a vicious circle for them so I just want to give them a chance to get out fast, get back to work so they can still pay their child support, try to get caught up on this.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Hourly workers at schools are concerned about a bill in the state House that saves schools from having to make up some snow days. 

Some labor groups are against the bills. That’s because they don’t get paid unless they work – and the bill doesn’t have any requirement that school districts reimburse those workers for the lost days.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State lawmakers want to go to the Michigan Supreme Court to find out if something they did in their last session is legal.

Attorney General Dana Nessel is considering a request for a formal opinion. Some Democratic lawmakers want to know whether the Republican-led Legislature’s adopt and amend tactic used last year is okay. Lawmakers adopted two ballot proposals – then made major changes to them – instead of letting voters decide.

Representative Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) introduced a measure to ask the state Supreme Court for its opinion.