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.

House Ed advances 2 charter school bills, but one raises concerns about funding, oversight

By: - February 28, 2023

The House Education Committee advanced two bills that address charter schools in Montana — but just one is supported by “school choice” advocates. Rep. Marta Bertoglio, R-Clancy, opposed the bill “school choice” proponents favored, but she also spoke to the reason she believes charter school bills were on the table at all. “There is a […]

Appointed PSC? Bill would have governor appoint, Senate confirm

By: - February 27, 2023

Montana Public Service Commissioners would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate instead of elected by voters if House Bill 755 becomes law. Rep. Dave Fern, D-Whitefish, proposed the legislation Monday as a way to bring technical expertise to the five-member commission, similar to some other boards in Montana that rely on […]

‘Human sexuality’ notice sees dueling bills to amend 2021 law

By: - February 27, 2023

It’s human sexuality class, and a student raises her hand. Rep. Eric Matthews, D-Bozeman, said he’s taught that class. He wondered if a proposed law meant he would be putting his career in jeopardy if he called on the student and she made a comment about, say, homosexuality. “Does that put me in violation of […]

VP finalist alleges UM discriminated; UM said she was never employed

By: - February 24, 2023

A woman and recent top candidate for a vice president position at the University of Montana wants to join a possible class action case alleging gender discrimination by UM and the Montana University System. But the University of Montana said the woman has never even been employed at the institution. In 2021, four high ranking […]

‘Human sexuality instruction’ back in House Education Committee

By: - February 23, 2023

Do parents really need to get a letter that says “human sexuality instruction” is taking place in advance of every school lesson about “Romeo and Juliet”? Rep. Fred Anderson, R-Great Falls, said he doesn’t think so. This week, Anderson proposed House Bill 566, which he said aims to iron out a bill that passed last […]

Montana finance industry opposes firearms ‘discrimination’ bill, Attorney General supports

By: - February 22, 2023

A customer forgot a firearm at a business last week, and the business was disappointed with the irresponsible conduct, said Charles Robison, with the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  Now, that business is considering putting up a “No weapons” sign to avoid similar problems in the future. “Should a business like this lose the right to […]

Former Montana lawmaker Dorothy Bradley and former Republican Gov. Marc Racicot embrace at a rally to stop the dozens of constitutional amendment proposals made in the 2023 legislative sessions.

Political analyst: Montana GOP moved, not Gov. Racicot

By: - February 21, 2023

Yes, former Gov. Marc Racicot still considers himself a Republican, despite the state party’s resolution to kick him out. In fact, when it comes to getting crosswise with the GOP, Racicot said he “crossed the Rubicon” emotionally back in 2016. Then, he caused the party consternation for his opposition of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. […]

Montana Clean Indoor Air Act, preventing indoor smoking, up for a hearing again

By: - February 21, 2023

If anyone loves the idea of gutting the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act besides Sen. Jeremy Trebas, R-Great Falls, they’re staying mum.  For a minute, though, Chair Sen. Jason Small, R-Busby, gave him the benefit of the doubt. When exactly zero people stood up in the room to testify in favor of the bill to […]

Drag show sells out with ‘unabashedly quirky and joyful’ performance, legislative commentary

By: - February 20, 2023

MISSOULA — In the end, Millennial of Mayhem Margaret Murder’s team tossed Chastity Wilkes, clothed in a thick jean skirt and sheen of self-righteousness, out of the wrestling ring, and Margaret Murder claimed the title belt hanging above the ladder. The theater was sold out, and the crowd cheered. After all, Chastity was trying to […]

Senate committee advances bill to prohibit foreign adversaries from owning ag land in Montana

By: - February 16, 2023

A bill to prohibit foreign adversaries such as China from buying or controlling agricultural land in Montana passed out of committee on Thursday after being amended. Sen. Kenneth Bogner, R-Miles City, proposed the bill, and at a hearing, representatives from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and the Montana Stockgrowers Association said the issue was a […]

Montana subcommittee boosts provider rates, leaves larger hospitals out

By: - February 16, 2023

Underfunded Medicaid providers in Montana will get a bigger rate increase than the Gianforte Administration proposed, but they’ll still be an estimated $49 million short of their need for the biennium, according to initial votes Thursday in a legislative subcommittee and a consultant study of rates. One group of providers didn’t get an increase, however. […]

Lawmakers debate how to meet demand for services, demand for labor and cuts to some social services

By: - February 15, 2023

One man in Montana sleeps in his wheelchair because he doesn’t have the money to pay an in-home worker. Wednesday, Rep. Mary Caferro, D-Helena, said Montana has the money to help him, so she repeatedly opposed millions of dollars of reductions in Medicaid expenditures for the state health department — $6 million less for senior […]