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Cheyna Roth

Capitol 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.

Ways to Connect

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

More than two dozen bills aimed at combating sexual assault passed the state House today. The bills range from tightening documentation requirements for physicians to increasing education in schools about sexual misconduct.

Lawmakers say the legislation is a big step forward. But others say there’s still more work to be done to combat sexual assault in the state.

Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., is chair of a House committee that worked on the bills.

Flickr User Thetoad / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Long-debated legislation in response to the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal could move out of House committee. Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor who will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

There are more than 30 bills in the committee in response to Nassar. The committee has made amendments to some of them – but others might not get a vote at all. Bills getting changes include those passed earlier this year by the Senate.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Longtime Michigan journalist Jack Lessenberry has resigned from the Metro Times.

This comes after a Deadline Detroit story that accused Lessenberry of having inappropriate interactions with female colleagues. He was a columnist for the Metro Times, though he did not work in the office.

Michigan State University
John M. Quick / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lawmakers in Lansing say a settlement between Michigan State University and survivors of Larry Nassar doesn’t mean their quest for justice is over.

Nassar is the former university sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients under the guise of treatment. More than 300 survivors are suing the school for not stopping him, and MSU faces a potential $500 million settlement.

In the Legislature, lawmakers have crafted more than 30 bills in response to what Nassar did.

Nicole Beverly
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in Lansing are focused on giving some crime victims more rights and protections.

Governor Rick Snyder will have to decide if convicted criminals should be required to listen to their victims in court. The legislation, on its way to his desk, is in response to a defendant who was convicted of killing a woman – but who left the courtroom during the family’s statements.

“For me, it’s a matter of putting victims first,” said bill sponsor Holly Hughes, R-Montague. “Putting humanity first is the principal of all this and making sure you do the right thing.”

matthileo / Flickr

Activists from across the state shut down streets in Lansing Monday. The Michigan Poor People’s Campaign launched at the state Capitol.

The campaign wants a massive overhaul of voting rights laws, new programs to get people out of poverty, and measures to boost the economy in favor of working people.

Jerry Goldberg is with a coalition to stop foreclosures, which is part of the campaign. He said all the struggles they’re fighting against – from racism to worker’s rights – are similar.

Mackinac Bridge
Julie Falk / Flickr

A coolant spill in the Straits of Mackinac did not harm the Great Lakes. That’s according to the Coast Guard and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Drew, Cooper & Anding / YouTube Video

Legislation to lengthen the amount of time victims of sexual assault have to file complaints continues to get pushback. The bills are part of a response to former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar. He sexually assaulted his patients for years.

Part of bill package would lengthen the amount of time child victims of sexual assault have to file a civil lawsuit. The bills are currently in front of a state House committee. They recently passed out of the Senate.

Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

High schools in Michigan might have to add financial literacy to their curriculum. Schools would have to offer a class on personal finance management skills like spending, saving, borrowing and investing to 11th and 12th graders. That’s if a bipartisan bill making its way through the state legislature is passed.

“In the U.S. we’ve just passed a trillion in credit card debt and I just think it’s really important for the young students – 11th and 12th grade – to be prepared for their lives going forward,” said bill sponsor Diana Farrington, R-Utica.

7raysmarketing / pixabay

A state panel will recommend that ten new conditions be added to the list of acceptable reasons for medical marijuana use.

The panel of medical experts approved conditions like arthritis, obsessive compulsive disorder, spinal cord injury, and chronic pain.

But the panel wasn’t in favor of adding several mental health disorders – like anxiety and depression.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s top doctor and on the board. She says the petitions for most of the mental health conditions were too broad.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

There are new developments in the criminal case against a former dean of Michigan State University. A judge says two women cannot testify against William Strampel at a crucial hearing in June. Strampel is charged with using his position at MSU to try and get sexual favors from female students.

Kaylah Otto / Unsplash

A Lansing-area police department that says it mishandled a complaint against Larry Nassar has reviewed 17 years of sexual assault complaints. Nassar is the former sports doctor who will spend decades in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

"354,000 people signed their name on a petition to vote on this issue. They were ignored. I think that's unconscionable," Jamison said.
flickr user Dank Depot / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

People who want a license to grow or sell medical marijuana in Michigan have yet more uncertainty to deal with when it comes to getting licensed.

People with medical marijuana businesses had until mid-February to get their applications into the state if they wanted to stay open while they waited for a license. If they did, they got a grace period and could stay open until June 15. The thinking was the state would hopefully be able to get them their licenses by that time.

But the state says it might not get through all those applications in time – more than 300 of them.

Emma Winowiecki/ Michigan Radio

A woman who says Michigan State University ignored her sexual assault complaints is considering a run for the school’s board of trustees.

Amanda Thomashow says she's strongly considering a run for the position. She’s a survivor of Larry Nassar. He’s the former MSU doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years. Thomashow reported Nassar to school officials, but her complaint was swept under the rug.

State Senator Patrick Colbeck
www.senatorpatrickcolbeck.com/photowire

Tensions were high on the Senate floor today, when a lawmaker doubled down on claims that Muslim terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate the U.S.

Republican Senator Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, is running for governor. A Buzzfeed article recently uncovered a presentation Colbeck gave. In it, he accuses a Democratic candidate for governor of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Colbeck has offered no proof to support this claim.

Mugshot of Dr. William Strampel
Michigan Attorney General's office

A former Michigan State University dean is accused of using practice medical exams for his own sexual pleasure.

Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Larry Nassar scandal will shape Michigan’s laws for decades to come.

Nassar is the former Olympics and Michigan State University sports doctor who was convicted of sexually assaulting young girls under the guise of treatment. He’ll likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

The state Legislature has more than 30 bills on its plate aimed at curbing sexual assault in the state and preventing another case like Nassar’s from happening again.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

Michigan could soon require certain people to work for their Medicaid benefits. 

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Inmates at a mid-Michigan prison are on lockdown after gang related fighting.

Multiple fights broke out over the course of several days. They started Thursday, and occurred multiple times on Sunday during meals and finally on the prison yard on Monday. The facility has been on lockdown since Monday at lunchtime. Lockdown means inmates don’t have any privileges and are confined to their cells.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State lawmakers have a pile of bills aimed at curbing sexual assault. But some in the medical profession are concerned the legislation might go too far.

The bills were drafted after former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar was convicted of sexually assaulting patients for years.

One bill would change requirements for record keeping for certain types of exams. And make it a felony if doctors don’t document.

The Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

An electrical cable that leaked hundreds of gallons of mineral oils into the Straits of Mackinac will be inspected – as soon as the weather clears up.

Unified Command is a team of local, state and federal officials that responded to the spill reported earlier this month. The owner of the cable line, American Transmission Company is also on the team.

The plan is to send a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) under the water to inspect the line.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Democrats want Dana Nessel as their candidate for state attorney general in 2018. The party held its endorsement convention Sunday. Thousands gathered to vote on who should be on the ballot.

It was at times a bitter race, but former U.S. Attorney Pat Miles conceded to Nessel. Nessel is one of the Michigan attorneys who fought for gay marriage rights and won at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Miles went into the convention with organized labor’s endorsement – which usually means victory. But Nessel’s progressive platform, with nods from LGBTQ and marijuana groups won the day.

Flickr User Thetoad / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

State lawmakers want to hit universities in their pocketbooks if they don’t follow certain sexual assault policies.

A measure cleared a House committee Thursday as part of the House’s Higher Education committee budget bill. It would cut university funding by 10% if a university doesn’t follow certain Title IX and sexual assault policies.

“I do believe that a lot of the schools are already doing most of these things,” said state Rep. and committee chair Kim LaSata, R-St. Joseph. “But we just want it to be similar across the board.”

Flint residents stand on the Capitol steps protesting the Snyder administration decision to stop free bottled water delivery to the city.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

People from Flint interrupted a state legislative session Wednesday to demand clean drinking water.

They’re upset with the recent decision by Governor Rick Snyder’s administration to stop distributing free bottled water in the city. During House session, people started to chant, “Do your job, open the PODs” – that’s Point of Delivery for bottled water distribution. The group then walked down the stairs and out of the Capitol while chanting. One person was temporarily detained. He says he isn’t facing any charges.

Michigan State Police officer at computer
Michigan State Police

Police in Michigan hope the number of unsolved missing persons will drop thanks to a new law  signed by Governor Rick Snyder recently.

The legislation requires all law enforcement agencies to put missing persons’ information into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System – or NamUs.

Law enforcement say Michigan is ranked 3rd in the nation for most missing persons. Experts say requiring law enforcement to put case information into NamUs could help lower the state’s number of missing persons.

Michigan State University sign
Michigan State University

A state House inquiry released Thursday found Michigan State University failed to properly investigate or protect students from Larry Nassar, the former sports doctor recently convicted of sexually assaulting patients under the guise of treatment. A letter detailing the findings of the inquiry says at least 243 survivors have now reported Nassar to MSU Police. 

flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A major firearms case will be debated in front of the Michigan Supreme Court next week. But advocates on both sides say it’s about more than whether someone can carry a firearm on school grounds.

Ann Arbor and Clio school districts in Michigan got sued for banning guns on school grounds.

State law generally prevents local gun rules – and the court will decide whether that applies here- which could have a broader impact.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A state attorney general candidate has filed a complaint against his opponent. Democrat Pat Miles says fellow Democrat Dana Nessel violated the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.

“Michigan has some of the weakest campaign finance laws in the first place. And if you can’t even follow that law, then what kind of attorney general would you be?” Miles said.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says Ford could stand to refresh its model lineup, and should invest more in connected vehicles.
Ford Motor Company

As Michigan moves forward in the so-called “race to mobility,” there are still some details it needs to work out. The second annual report from Michigan’s Council on Future Mobility came out Monday.

The recommendations include the need for more laws and clarification surrounding the use of self-driving cars. For example, whether state laws need a new definition for the word “drive” And who – or what – would actually get a ticket?

A packed public comments hearing on the recent Nestle permit.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan DEQ has approved a permit from Nestle Waters North America to increase the amount of groundwater it pumps from its well near Evart, Michigan.

The state says Nestle has to complete a monitoring plan and submit it to the DEQ for approval. After that happens, Nestle will be authorized to pump up to 400 gallons of water per minute from its White Pine Springs well.

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