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.

Committee hears bill to amend Constitution to address Board of Regents’ authority

By: - March 13, 2023

Montana State University students said the Bozeman campus has been trampling on their constitutional rights, and they want the legislature to have more authority over public higher education. Rachael Stevenson, with the Young Americans for Liberty, said MSU has violated students’ rights of free speech and due process, and some have been threatened and fear […]

Obscenity bill raises questions beyond school libraries

By: - March 13, 2023

A school librarian in Havre worries she might have to empty her bookshelves if a bill to revise obscenity laws passes. “My No. 1 question is how are they going to police that?” said Jimmi Linn Brown, of Havre High School. A public schools advocate, on the other hand, isn’t worried about the bill itself […]

Bill to open more walkup campsites in Montana sailing through

By: - March 9, 2023

Helping Montanans have a better shot at camping in state parks is a popular idea. House Bill 440, which would limit the number of reserved campsites at 80% in order to allow more walkups, passed unanimously in committee, and then it passed unanimously in the House. Rep. Steve Gunderson, R-Libby, had said the bill was […]

Montana PSC will continue to be elected, but new districts possible

By: - March 8, 2023

Montanans will keep choosing Public Service Commissioners at the ballot box, but some voters might soon be in new districts. A tally of the progress of bills introduced in the 68th Montana Legislature counts 825 transmitted to the second chamber prior to the deadline for general bills to meet that milestone. House Bill 755, which […]

Montana State University student settles free speech lawsuit against campus

By: - March 7, 2023

A Montana State University student who filed a lawsuit alleging free speech violations after she questioned her sorority’s “insistence” members identify themselves with preferred pronouns has settled the case against the campus. In January, Daria Danley sued MSU, its president and director of the Office of Institutional Equity, along with the commissioner of higher education. […]

Flathead National Forest, POWDR, worked ‘hand in hand’ on Holland expansion proposal

By: - March 6, 2023

For more than one year before the U.S. Forest Service announced a controversial proposal to expand operations at Holland Lake Lodge, it was working hand in hand with POWDR, an “adventure life” company that aims to take full ownership of the resort on public land. POWDR drafted at least one letter of support the Forest […]

Gov. Gianforte touts ‘historic’ tax cuts

By: - March 3, 2023

​​Gov. Greg Gianforte touted Thursday a series of bills sent to his desk by lawmakers representing more than $1 billion in tax cuts in the first half of the legislative session.  “We now have a historic tax relief package providing Montanans the largest tax cut in state history,” said Gianforte, a Republican. At a press […]

Montana House passes bill to fund Medicaid rates per Guidehouse study 65-35

By: - March 3, 2023

The Montana House passed a bill 65-35 to fully fund Medicaid reimbursement rates based on a consultant study — with calls from some legislators to address a crisis in the state, but with the idea House Bill 649 still needs work. The bill notes 11 nursing homes have closed in Montana in the last year, […]

House kills partisan justice elections bill, ‘constitutional sheriff’ bill

By: - March 2, 2023

Legislators in the House said “no” on Thursday to “constitutional sheriffs,” to partisan Montana Supreme Court elections, to “roofying” others, and to moving the Cowboy Hall of Fame away from Great Falls. The day before the legislative deadline for general bills to pass one chamber, the House met all day and into the evening to […]

House advances two ‘human sexuality’ parent notification bills

By: - March 2, 2023

The Montana House passed two bills Thursday to revise parent notifications for “human sexuality instruction” — but the bills are different. Sponsored by Rep. Kerri-Seekins-Crowe, R-Billings, House Bill 502 passed 68-32 — but without a couple of changes opponents had found most objectionable. Seekins-Crowe notes parents will receive notifications from schools not less than 48 […]

Kangaroos, cartels, not popular on Montana House floor

By: - March 1, 2023

Representatives in the House weren’t in favor of kangaroos — at least in apartments — or cartels or ranked choice voting. Wednesday afternoon, lawmakers continued a marathon floor session expected to kick off again Thursday in time for them to push bills through at least one chamber before the legislative halftime deadline. Friday will mark […]

The Montana state Capitol in Helena shortly after sunrise on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

House Human Services advances bill to fully fund Medicaid rates in Guidehouse study

By: - March 1, 2023

The House Human Services Committee on Tuesday passed a bill to fully fund Medicaid reimbursement rates recommended in an in-depth study by a national consultant — plus the cost of inflation. House Bill 649 passed 17-4 with bipartisan support following a lengthy hearing Friday where an onslaught of providers from across the health care and […]