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)--   A democratic state lawmaker wants the state Capitol to reverse its ban on signs.

The Capitol currently prohibits protestors and other people from bringing signs into the building.

“I just think that is an absolute limit, and unnecessary limit on somebody’s free right to express themselves in this building,” said bill sponsor, Democratic Senator Jeremy Moss.

Moss said the state’s priorities are backwards. That’s because people can openly carry firearms into the state Capitol on a daily basis, but not signs.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some Michigan lawmakers think women need to be warned of the potential dangers of using marijuana while pregnant.

Bills passed out of the state House Tuesday that would require marijuana products to contain a health warning label for women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, similar to what is currently on alcohol.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (MPRN)--   The state attorney general’s new policy about faith-based adoption agencies will be up for debate in federal court. 

Several years ago, former Governor Rick Snyder signed a law that allowed faith-based adoption agencies to turn away prospective families for religious reasons and still get state dollars. A same sex couple took the state to court.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   One year. That’s how long the former dean of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine was sentenced to spend in jail. 

William Strampel was sentenced Wednesday for two misdemeanors and one felony. He was convicted of a felony for using his position as dean to try to get sexual favors from female students.

During sentencing, Strampel’s attorney argued that Strampel has multiple women on his side – and his good characteristics should not be ignored.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A new bill in the state Legislature would ban the manufacturing and sale of personal care products with microbeads. 

The small plastic beads are already banned in some products at the federal level.

Democratic Representative Laurie Pohutsky says it’s important for Michigan’s waterways that microbeads are kept out. That’s because when they’re in products and washed down the drain they can get into lakes and rivers.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state lawmaker says Michigan needs to improve the pay of direct care workers across the state. 

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Cheyna Roth says those are people who provide in home healthcare for the sick, disabled, and elderly.

Democratic Senator Jeff Irwin proposed an amendment to the state Senate’s version of the budget a couple months ago. It would, in total, set aside enough money to ensure that all direct care workers are paid $15 an hour.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan now has a cybercrime support and recovery hotline. Kent County residents can dial 211 if they are the victim of cybercrime and be connected to resources to help them figure out the next steps.

The Heart of West Michigan United Way and Cybercrime Support Network launched the new hotline Tuesday. It’s the first in Michigan, but more could be on the way. The plan is to expand the program to about a dozen other counties by the end of next year.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A former Detroit superstar will now have a portion of the freeway named in her honor. The Aretha Franklin Memorial Highway will run along a section of the M-10 freeway, between Livernois and I-94 in Detroit. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the law Monday. Franklin died last August at age 76. The bill signing happened on a pink Cadillac in downtown Detroit. Whitmer called Franklin an “American icon” and said her musical contributions helped shape the state.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether it was legal for the state Legislature to adopt citizen-led ballot initiatives last year, then quickly change them. 

State Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud argued against the “adopt and amend” move. She said the Legislature thwarted the will of the people who signed the initiatives.

“This would create a permanent escape route for the Legislature, for the people to never get their voice through initiative power.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Lawyers from the state Attorney General’s Office will be in front of the Michigan Supreme Court Wednesday. The twist? They’ll be arguing both sides of the same issue. 

The Attorney General’s office says this move is part of its dual role. The office represents both the people of Michigan as well as the state.