Author

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”

Judge: Montana Clean Campaign Act unconstitutional

By: - January 18, 2022

The Montana Clean Campaign Act doesn’t pass constitutional muster, according to an order Tuesday from U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy. The Fair Notice provision in state law requires political committees to “contemporaneously provide a candidate with a copy of any campaign advertisement published within 10 days of an election if that advertisement refers to, […]

Report: Depression among youth hits 30-year high in pandemic

By: - January 18, 2022

Depression among high school students hit its highest rate in three decades, 41 percent, during the pandemic, according to results of the 2021 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Study. “If anything good came out of this reporting in 2021, it was that our suicide attempts did not increase during the pandemic,” said Susan Court, state coordinator […]

Monforton asks Montana Supreme Court to take supervisory control of CI-121 case

By: - January 14, 2022

A lawyer and sponsor of Constitutional Initiative 121 wants the Montana Supreme Court to let him keep collecting signatures for the measure, which would put a cap on residential property taxes. In a petition filed Friday, Matthew Monforton is asking the Montana Supreme Court to stay a Lewis and Clark County District Court’s order enjoining […]

Sinema won’t support changes in the Senate filibuster, in setback for voting rights

By: - January 14, 2022

WASHINGTON — Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Thursday appeared to end a drive by Democrats to change the Senate’s filibuster rules and pass major voting rights legislation. Sinema said during a Senate floor speech that she believed any changes to the filibuster would continue to create political division, despite her concerns over a wave of […]

Court: Secretary of State enjoined from certifying PSC candidates

By: - January 13, 2022

The Montana Secretary of State won’t be able to certify candidates running for the Public Service Commission districts 1 and 5 for the time being, according to an order Thursday from the Helena Division of the U.S. District Court of Montana. In a complaint against Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, plaintiffs Bob Brown, Hailey Sinoff […]

‘Bridge’ money for mental health services runs out

By: - January 13, 2022

The $2.2 million “bridge” money the Montana Legislature allocated to temporarily support mental health services for children in public schools has been exhausted, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services confirmed this week. And with pressure mounting on multiple fronts, a plan to find a new way to pay for the Comprehensive School […]

Glacier National Park’s telecommunications plan approved

By: - January 10, 2022

If you’re wondering about road closures while visiting Glacier National Parking, chances are, you’ll check your cellphone for information. Currently, service is spotty at best, or nonexistent, and in many places, that’s part of the point. But a newly approved telecommunications plan for Glacier National Park means four developed areas of the park could be […]

Three-judge panel hears arguments in PSC redistricting case

By: - January 7, 2022

What about doing away with Public Service Commission districts altogether and holding an at-large election in 2022? That was one question U.S District Judge Donald Molloy asked the Montana Secretary of State’s lawyer Friday in a hearing about a lawsuit alleging the PSC districts are so far out of alignment they violate the one person, […]

ARPA Health Advisory Commission approves recommendation for $30M to child care on split vote

By: - January 6, 2022

Elizabeth Shults is worried that after 20 years running a child care business, she’ll be forced to close — despite a child care stabilization grant from the state of Montana. “This money will not keep me in business,” said Shults, of Belgrade. Thursday, Shults shared her experience applying for a child care stabilization grant from […]

Ed tax credit for public schools maxed out within minutes, raising equity concerns

By: - January 5, 2022

A former public schools superintendent and Montana legislator said the increased limit on a tax credit for education is creating unequal benefits after the cap for one program hit its maximum $1 million within minutes it was available. “If you go back to the historic lawsuits for education funding and questions about equality and equitable […]

Public Service Commission to investigate CenturyLink for poor phone service

By: - January 3, 2022

The Montana Public Service Commission is launching an investigation into CenturyLink Communication’s “legacy infrastructure” because customers in rural areas continue to report telephone problems including the inability to reach 911. “If we don’t have correctly working 911, people’s lives are at risk,” said Commissioner Randy Pinocci at a PSC meeting last month. “I can’t make […]

Arthouses have ‘best’ months since pandemic

By: - January 2, 2022

Moviegoers are back in Montana theaters, munching on salty, buttery popcorn, watching Meryl Streep strut her Donald Trump in “Don’t Look Up,” and giving at least a couple of arthouses their best months since coronavirus arrived in the Treasure State. “Definitely, November and December were our two best months for film we’ve had since the […]