Jackie Yamanaka

Senior Political Reporter/Special Projects

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

Thousands of people gathered at events across Montana Saturday to participate in this year’s Women’s March. Each event had its own organizers and theme.  

In Billings, the organizers issued this call to action, run for something. State Senator Jen Gross, one of the organizers, says that could be a run for elected office, run to the polls, or to run to a community organization and volunteer.


By United States Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Montana officials are moving ahead toward finalizing its rules for the state’s medical marijuana industry despite the cloud of uncertainty raised after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama Administration memo that kept federal prosecutors from pursuing marijuana cases in states where pot is legal.

Lawmakers were given an update on on the Montana Medical Marijuana Act during a meeting of Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee hearing at the state Capitol.


Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

The fund Montana lawmakers approved during the 2017 Legislature to accept donations to purchase easements to landlocked public land has reached just over $50,000, according to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. State officials are working to grow that fund so they can ink the first agreement later this year. 


courtesy of Eric Ward

There are specific words, tactics and tools individuals can can use to diffuse racist or bigoted speech, says civil rights strategist and organizer Eric Ward, executive director of Western States Center

Ward is the featured guest at two Martin Luther King, Junior Events in Montana, sponsored by the Montana Human Rights Network. 

Dark Sevier, Flickr at https://goo.gl/dqGgLN

State Senator Jen Gross of Billings wants participants at this year's Women's March to leave the event with mission. She says the lack of a "call to action" was a missed opportunity at the inaugural gathering last year at the state Capitol in Helena. In conversation with YPR's Jackie Yamanaka, Gross says she wants to channel the energy and enthusiasm people have after the event into action for change.


Jackie Yamanaka

Thanks to the 2017 Montana Legislature, it is no longer illegal to start up your vehicle and leave it running  unattended while the engine warms up.  It's a common sight during the winter.


Jackie Yamanaka

Kathleen Williams, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, says the government is close to broken.  But instead of continuing to grouse about the hyper-partisanship in Congress, she says she wants to try to fix the problem. 

That wouldn't be the first time. 

MSU Billings University Relations

Former U.S. Senator and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, D-MT, and former U.S. Senator Al Simpson, R-WY talked about the role of civility in politics during a public forum December 4, 2017 at Cisel Recital Hall on the MSU Billings campus.

Jackie Yamanaka

The fact Montana lawmakers were going into this week's special legislative session with no pre-negotiated "deal" in place gave many at the Capitol heartburn. The session wrapped up shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday morning. Governor Steve Bullock called legislators back to the Capitol to help address a projected $227 million dollar budget shortfall and backfill the state's depleted wildfire fighting fund. 

Jackie Yamanaka

The gavel banged down shortly after 1 o’clock this morning to bring the special legislative session to a close after lawmakers passed a series of bills to address Montana's projected $227 million budget shortfall.

Pages