Cheyna Roth

Capital Reporter

Cheyna Roth

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for 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.

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A showdown is brewing in Lansing over the fate of teacher retirements. 

Teachers can currently choose between a full 401(k) type plan or a hybrid 401(k) and pension plan.

Many Democrats, like Senator David Knezek oppose the legislation.

Controversial legislation on state regulatory rules is making its way through the legislature.

The House approved a bill Thursday to prevent the state from being tougher on things like environmental and workplace safety than the federal government.

Gun rights are up for debate in the state legislature again.

A set of bills to get rid of a permit requirement to carry a concealed pistol was up in front of a House committee Tuesday.

Advocates say the legislation is long overdue and the legislation wouldn’t take away the regulations on who can carry a firearm.

But opponents say it erodes gun safety.

Morgan Springer

A battle is heating up in Lansing over the state’s corrections budget.

Republican Senator John Proos’ subcommittee on corrections passed a budget that cuts the Department of Correction’s budget by about 40 million dollars. Proos said because the prison population is down, continuing to spend about the same amount each year means they are spending too much per prisoner.

Michigan’s attempts to privatize prison food services is still running into problems. The legislature approved outsourcing prison food service in 2012 to cut costs. But it canceled its first contract with Aramark in 2015, after numerous problems.

Reports obtained by the liberal watchdog group Progress Michigan show the prisons are still having problems with spoiled food and outside staff.

Progress Michigan also wants the legislature to stop outsourcing services. Spokesperson Sam Inglot said this “failed experiment” needs to end.

Governor Rick Snyder has chosen the newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Judge Kurtis Wilder is the first of a couple appointments Governor Snyder has to make in the coming weeks. He will replace Justice Robert Young who retired from the court in April to return to his former law firm, Dickenson Wright.

Wilder is a former Chief Judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court. He currently serves on the state Court of Appeals.

Governor Snyder said Wilder has already done great work to help the state.

Cheyna Roth of MPRN

Democrats in Lansing have renewed their mission for a Voter Bill of Rights.

Democrats in the state House attempted to pass a resolution to amend the Michigan Constitution last year. This time, State Representative Jon Hoadley is spearheading the effort.

Paul Maritinez/Flickr

Lawmakers are moving fast to ramp up prison time for female genital mutilation.

Removing or altering the genitalia of a minor female for non-medical purposes is already a federal crime with a five-year penalty. But a state Senate committee just passed bills to make it a state crime as well – with up to 15 years in prison as a penalty.

Lawmakers in Lansing might not try to do away with the state income tax after all; but, they are still looking to reduce it.

A new version of the bill would gradually cut the tax from 4 point 25 percent to 3 point 9 percent.

Bill sponsor Representative Lee Chatfield says he is happy with the changes.

The presidential candidates and their surrogates swung through Michigan on the final day before the polls opened.

President Obama was in Michigan as part of a tour of battleground states. The president tried to drum up support for Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic ticket during a rally in Ann Arbor.

Obama spoke to a crowd of about nine thousand people at the University of Michigan. He told first-time voters in the audience that this year has been a strange one in politics. The president said he’s been frustrated by a lot of the news coverage of the campaign.

Lawmakers have ideas for how to ensure there is not a repeat of the Flint water crisis.

A report released Wednesday by State Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, makes 36 recommendations.

Third graders who fail the state’s reading test might not be able to graduate to 4th grade. That’s if Governor Rick Snyder signs a bill that is headed his way.

The bill stalled a bit over the summer, but Wednesday it quickly jumped from the House to the Senate for a final vote. Wednesday was the last time the Senate and House would meet on the same day before the election.