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.

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Jackie Yamanaka

Supporters of a bonding bill are working to turn 4 “no” votes to “yes” in order to advance Senate Bill 367 out of the House of Representatives.  Bonding is the last major issue remaining before the 2017 Montana Legislature.

Representatives gave Senate Bill 367 a preliminary 63-to-37 vote last evening. However, the bill will need at least 67 votes on its 3rd and final reading to advance it back to the Senate because of changes to the bill. Passage is expected to expedite the conclusion of the 2017 Legislative session. 


Jackie Yamanaka

Lawmakers wrapped up Day 85 of their scheduled 90-day Legislative session with no agreement reached on a bonding package.

That morning, 11 legislators sat down with Governor Steve Bullock, Budget Director Dan Villa and other staff in the Governor's Conference Room to talk about possibilities. Specifically, what would it take to reach the 67 votes needed in the House to pass a bonding bill.

Among the bills put on the table were those dealing with abortion and charter schools. House Minority Leader Jenny Eck, D-Helena, said if those bills were part of the deal, the Republican majority would lose Democratic votes, which could doom bonding.


Jackie Yamanaka

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives rejected an attempt to revive a bonding measure that would pay for public school building projects, university buildings on 3 campuses, and help the Southwest Montana Veterans Home break ground.

Representative Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, offered a technical motion to suspend the rules to reconsider his House Bill 645. It failed April 6, 2017 to get the votes necessary to be transmitted to the Senate.


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A bill to increase the fuel tax continues to advance down the road as the Legislative session is moving closer to adjournment.

“And I find myself in the middle of Montana in the 65th Legislative Session in a very odd position where I feel the need to quote Mick Jagger,” said Representative Frank Garner, R-Kalispell. “And that is you don’t always get what you want.”

MSU Billings

Two Montana campuses will be allowed to have the public sample the wares from their brewing science and brewery operations programs, so long as the tasting rooms are off campus.

Flathead Valley Community College and Montana State University Billings are the two campuses with this program. But the Senate amended the bill to only recognize FVCC. Representative Don Jones, R-Billings, wanted MSU Billings to be recognized, as well.

Jackie Yamanaka

The 65th Session of the Montana Legislature is winding down, but there are pieces yet to be put into place before lawmakers can adjourn.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, talks about the negotiations taking place with the Governor to bring this session to a close.

Jackie Yamanaka

A bill related to the pending closure of two coal fired power plants in Colstrip remains languishing in a House committee. A Representative failed to “blast” Senate Bill 338 to the floor for debate.

The bill sailed through the state Senate but was tabled in the House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee after it failed to pass on an 8-8 vote.

MSU Billings

The microbrew craze is hitting some of the campuses in the Montana University System. Two campuses offer programs to teach brewing and a bill allowing campus’ to have an academic brewer license and to have a small sampling room, is making its way through Montana State Legislature.

The bill currently only includes Flathead Valley Community College after the state Senate amended the bill, striking Montana University System from the language and adding FVCC, because the Senate Business and Labor Committee didn’t know that Montana State University Billings already has a brew program.

(Flickr/https://flic.kr/p/bc5PF8)

U.S. Senator Steve Daines recently returned from a trip to Asia, where he discussed trade, in particular—beef. Daines is hopeful China will soon resume U.S. beef imports the Republican announced during a press call with reporters.

Jackie Yamanaka

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