Jackie Yamanaka

News Director

Jackie Yamanaka has been news director at YPR since 1986.  From her home base in Billings, Jackie covers a wide range of issues across Montana and Wyoming. During the Montana Legislative session, she re-locates to the state Capitol in Helena where she has another office.

During her tenure she has won numerous journalism awards from Public Radio News Directors, Inc.; The Society of Professional Journalists, The Montana Broadcaster’s Association EB Craney Awards; The Montana Associated Press; and elsewhere.

Jackie received a degree in Mass Communications from Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University Billings).  She is secretary of the Montana Freedom of Information Hotline (http://www.montanafoi.org/) and a past board member of Public Radio News Directors, Inc.  When she’s not working she enjoys running and hiking with her dogs, fishing, shooting sporting clays, and playing tennis.

Ways to Connect

Jackie Yamanaka

In this week’s, Capitol Connections the topic is the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. U.S. Senator Jon Tester said Monday in an address to the Montana House that repeal is imminent, but a replacement isn’t ready.


Jackie Yamanaka

Local government officials said the state is unfairly shifting the cost of housing the state’s prisoners to their taxpayers.  They are asking lawmakers to restore the payments to the actual costs

The root of the problem, said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry is the sheer number of state inmates.


Jackie Yamanaka

The House Judiciary Committee gave unanimous approval to a bill aimed at helping law enforcement officials and others help individuals who are suffering from a behavioral health crisis. House Bill 237 seeks to get people help rather than a jail cell.

Sheriffs and law enforcement officers from across Montana lined up to speak in support of House Bill 237’s goal of creating local Crisis Intervention Teams, or CITs, and expanding the training.

Jackie Yamanaka

The Montana Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that seeks to give judges and prosecutors more discretion in sentencing cases that involve sexual relations between teenagers.


Jackie Yamanaka

There was a bit of déjà vu surrounding a bill that seeks to use coal tax money to pay for crumbling public works and state buildings.

“I think the bill is familiar to many of us,” said Dan Villa, Governor Steve Bullock’s budget director.

It’s a reference to the failed Senate Bill 353 from the 2015 session. SB 353, sponsored by Republican Senator Rick Ripley, used “create Build Montana program” in its title.

Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Senator Jon Tester said repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act appears imminent.

Tester was invited to speak today before the Montana House of Representatives. Tester said there’s an incredible opportunity to find a bipartisan solution that can make healthcare affordable for middle class families.


Legislative Services

Clarification and correction:  Jake Troyer of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry clarified the pilot audit as part of the HELP Act identified fraud instances in the Unemployment Insurance Program.

Montana identified over $830,000 in Medicaid payments that went out to people who don’t deserve the federal-state healthcare program aimed at helping the working poor.  

Montana’s Medicaid expansion program, known as the HELP Act, was passed by the 2015 Montana Legislature and signed into law. It contained a provision to tackle waste, fraud and abuse.


Jackie Yamanaka

In principal, the main bill that funds road, water, and other infrastructure projects continues to have broad support.

“We do fully support the notion of increased funding at that local level for critical infrastructure, like roads, bridges, water and sewer and the use of bonding in supporting that infrastructure,” said Darryl James of the Montana Infrastructure Coalition.


Jackie Yamanaka

Lawmakers are evaluating proposals to improve irrigation, water and sewer systems. It’s the beginning of the process to decide which infrastructure projects are funded.


Jackie Yamanaka

State Attorney General Tim Fox has made investigating, enforcing and prosecuting crimes related to human trafficking a priority. In this week’s Capitol Connections, Fox talks about why this issue is important to him and the Montana Department of Justice.

In part two of the program, Senator Diane Sands, D-Missoula, provides an update on the work to update Montana’s sexual assault laws. In the 2015 session, Sands sponsored the bill to study sexual assault. She’s also a member of that Law and Justice Interim Committee that worked on a package of bills working their way through the 2017 session.


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