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

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.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   If you think you’re paying too much for your prescription drugs – Democratic lawmakers in Lansing agree. 

Some House Democrats have introduced bills aimed at making medical care more affordable.

Lower copays, expansion of what must be covered by insurance, and more protections for consumers are some of the key areas bills in a new legislative package would tackle.

Democratic Representative Jon Hoadley is a bill sponsor.

“At the end of the day, this is about making sure that we’re putting Michigan health and our safety over profits.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed all of the state’s budgets for the new spending year – and used up a lot of red ink in the process.

Governor Whitmer says she had to make the 147 line-item vetoes to protect Michigan residents. In a recorded statement on Instagram, Whitmer said the budgets sent to her by the Republican controlled Legislature were, “Built on phony numbers, using funds in the wrong way, usurping executive power. These are important things that I had to eliminate from these budgets.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the budgets on their way to her desk are “a mess.”

The state Legislature voted out the rest of the state budgets Tuesday. It passed the School Aid budget last week, though Whitmer has said she hasn’t received it yet. It can take several days for the clerk’s office to proofread and prepare bills for the governor.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Plans to make Michigan a sports betting state are moving through the state Legislature. A package of bills is scheduled to be voted out of a House committee Tuesday.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is concerned that expanding gambling in Michigan – including through legalized sports betting – will take away from the School Aid Fund. She says people could end up playing the lottery less. A portion of the lottery revenue goes to schools.

Bill sponsor, Representative Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township) said that’s not the case.