Author

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana.

Judge: Public Service Commission map likely unconstitutional, but in place for now

By: - February 29, 2024

A Public Service Commission map that appears gerrymandered to favor Republicans is likely unconstitutional — but it will stay in place for now, according to a Lewis and Clark County District order Thursday. However, Judge Christopher Abbott said the court will set an expedited schedule for the lawsuit over PSC districts, and he predicts the […]

UPDATED: Petitioners: Public Service Commission has ‘most consequential role’ on future of Montana

By: - February 28, 2024

Kimber Brown’s largest bill besides rent has always been their power bill, and unexpectedly becoming a one-income household crippled them. “I was quickly living out of my car with overdue NorthWestern (Energy) bills to pay,” Brown said. Brown isn’t as financially stressed anymore, but one thing has stayed the same. “I’m so scared to open […]

Montana Nurses Association: Support nurses in union contract, at legislature

By: - February 27, 2024

Some 650 nurses at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula are entering mediation on a union contract a labor leader said will shape the hospital’s ability to care for patients going forward. “This contract negotiation is really going to be telling on the future of St. Pat’s as we know it,” said Cassidy Dillon, a registered […]

Montana State Sen. Ken Bogner, R-Miles City, speaks at a news conference on May 1, 2023, urging support of Senate Bill 442. (Photo by Blair Miller, Daily Montanan)

Governor asks court to stop order; plaintiffs say governor using delay tactics

By: - February 24, 2024

Last month, a district court judge said the Montana Legislature must have a chance to override Gov. Greg Gianforte’s veto of a popular bill that directed marijuana tax revenue to conservation and county roads — but the governor believes the judge is wrong. Earlier this month, the state asked the Lewis and Clark County District […]

The Russell Smith Courthouse, the Missoula Division of the U.S. District Court of Montana.

Federal judge quizzes lawyers in Flathead National Forest plan lawsuit

By: - February 22, 2024

When should a road count as a road? Grizzly bears avoid roads — even ones that aren’t used by motor vehicles. So the Flathead National Forest is supposed to limit road density on forest land for that threatened species – and bull trout benefit, too. But a forest plan’s descriptions of roads — as “decommissioned” […]

Montana State University under investigation for discrimination on basis of disability

By: - February 21, 2024

Montana State University has received a fourth notice it is under investigation by the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. This notice, sent Feb. 2 to MSU President Waded Cruzado and first reported by the Bozeman Chronicle, said federal officials will investigate whether the Bozeman flagship failed to protect people from […]

Montana Consumer Counsel: NorthWestern owes customers $13M for natural gas

By: - February 20, 2024

NorthWestern Energy customers have paid $200 million more than they should have since 2005 because the utility’s advanced purchases of gas and electricity ended up higher than prices on the market — including $11 million in natural gas in the most recent year, according to the Montana Consumer Counsel. NorthWestern Energy, however, argues it is […]

Democrat Ryan Busse announces Raph Graybill as lieutenant governor candidate

By: - February 19, 2024

Raph Graybill has had close friends tell him they want to have children, but they’re afraid to get pregnant in “Greg Gianforte’s Montana.” Graybill, a lawyer, has fought and won against abortion bans in cases playing out across Montana, but he said even though the courts have blocked legislation supported by Republican legislators and signed […]

St. James hospital in Butte losing surgeons, union raises concerns about workers, patients

By: - February 17, 2024

St. James Healthcare in Butte appears to have lost more than half of its surgeons in the last year, and the Montana Nurses Association is urging Intermountain Health — which runs the hospital following a 2022 merger — to prioritize retention of critical health care providers. Roughly one year ago, the hospital counted nine or […]

Montana State University sets spring record, University of Montana ups enrollment

By: - February 15, 2024

Montana State University reported a record number of students enrolled this spring semester — a 3% increase over last spring — and the University of Montana reported a 2.4% increase in the same period. In a news release this week, MSU said its 16,110 students represent an all-time spring enrollment record for the Bozeman flagship […]

Montana State Prison sergeant charged, at least five other officers on leave

By: - February 14, 2024

A Montana State Prison sergeant faces felony charges for selling and distributing marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms to at least four other prison workers and for money laundering, according to Deer Lodge County District Court records. Defendant Scott Patrick Elliott and five other prison employees identified in an affidavit that outlines the allegations are on leave, […]

Misconduct complaint, motion to disqualify, both filed against Judge Christopher

By: - February 12, 2024

A judge the Montana Supreme Court removed from one case last month referred to a mom in her courtroom as “you bitch” in a remark to colleagues after a child custody hearing, and she described the grandmother as “poison.” The exchanges were recorded in a video of the Sept. 11 hearing with Judge Deborah Kim […]