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.

‘Strong…Montanans?’ ‘Pesky Minnesotans?’ Committee takes up cap on campsite reservations

By: - February 14, 2023

Remember being able to throw your tent in the back of your truck at the last minute on a Friday and pulling into a lovely campsite in Montana for the weekend? Dave Galt remembers, and Tuesday, he said lawmakers should pass Libby Republican Rep. Steve Gunderson’s bill to limit reservations at state campgrounds to 80% […]

Bill to put marijuana money toward conservation districts heard

By: - February 14, 2023

The budget for the conservation district in McCone County has no wiggle room, said Steve Wanderaas. Wanderaas, chairman of the district, said after recently giving the one paid staff member a small raise, payroll hit $36,000, and the district will need to dip into another fund to cover that cost. But at a hearing Monday, […]

Bill to separate vaping products from tobacco regs advances in House

By: - February 12, 2023

A bill that aims to exclude vapes or e-cigarettes from tobacco regulations passed Friday in the Montana House. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine — 99%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes. But bill sponsor Rep. Ron Marshall, R-Hamilton, said marijuana and alcohol aren’t regulated the same […]

Manhattan won’t move ahead with ‘sanctuary city’ ordinance to ban abortion after public outcry

By: - February 10, 2023

The town of Manhattan won’t move forward with an ordinance to become a “Sanctuary for the Unborn.” Thursday night, Mayor Glen Clements broke a tied vote on a motion to direct the town lawyer to draft an ordinance for Manhattan to essentially ban abortion, Clements said Friday. Clements opposed the motion for a 3-2 outcome. […]

Medical community praises Brereton in confirmation hearing, lawmakers ask questions

By: - February 9, 2023

Legislators quizzed health department director Charlie Brereton this week about the troubled state hospital in Warm Springs and one asked about his tepid interactions with the legislative branch — but not before Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras and members of the Montana medical community sang his praises. Wednesday, the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee […]

Montana bill from Trebas, others, tried to allow indoor smoking again

By: - February 8, 2023

Would you like to light up a ciggy and smoke indoors again? Or maybe a joint at your favorite bar? If so, you’re out of luck, but Sen. Jeremy Trebas, R-Great Falls, gave it a shot. “This is Montana,” Trebas said. “It’s not nanny-state California. Let’s be Montana.” Opponents noted the bill would be Montana […]

Montana bill to increase minimum wage tabled in committee

By: - February 7, 2023

Legislators stopped proposals to up the minimum wage to $15 an hour and $12 an hour last session — and then shut down the idea for $10, a compromise, said Rep. Kelly Kortum, D-Bozeman. This session, Kortum tried again for $11.39 an hour — $10 with a bump for inflation, he said. Now, that’s dead […]

Montana legislative committee tables bill unions opposed; lawmaker said he was threatened

By: - February 6, 2023

Rep. Gary Parry, R-Colstrip, voted with a committee majority to table a bill that tried to revise labor laws despite, he said, being threatened with retaliation if he failed to support it. “I grew up fighting back the bullies, and I don’t buckle under bully tactics,” Parry said in a brief interview Monday after the […]

Billings photojournalists recall seeing balloon before it was identified, shot down

By: - February 6, 2023

The two Billings photojournalists who captured the Chinese surveillance balloon told their story Monday to a national television outlet and are talking with a statewide radio show as well. Chase Doak, who provided his photo of the balloon last week to the Daily Montanan, told Fox News he thought the ground stop Wednesday at the […]

Montana officials want details on China’s spy balloon

By: - February 3, 2023

Montana and U.S. officials aren’t buying China’s explanation that the surveillance balloon detected over Billings this week was mostly collecting information on the weather and floated off course by accident. “(China) regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure,” said a statement from the People’s Republic of China. “The […]

Spy balloon from China over Montana as state senator moves to thwart foreign adversaries

By: - February 2, 2023

A Chinese surveillance balloon was detected above Billings within days of a hearing on a bill to prevent foreign adversaries from buying up agricultural land in Montana. NBC reported Thursday the U.S. military had been monitoring a suspected Chinese spy device hovering over the northern U.S. “for the past few days” and identified in Montana […]

GOP tax relief bills advance; Gov praises progress, but Dems unveil own plans for $2B surplus

By: - February 2, 2023

The state of Montana has an extra $2 billion or so packed in its pocket, according to the Governor’s Office. The best plan for those dollars? This week, Democrats unveiled their idea, and they also shot criticisms at plans from Republicans that have already steamed through the House. “Instead of embarking on a billion dollar […]