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.

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Jackie Yamanaka

A U.S. District Judge upheld a Montana law banning most robocalls.  State Attorney General Tim Fox hopes the ruling will deter those businesses that want to target Montanans with targeted political messages each election cycle.

Jackie Yamanaka

Federal funding for community health centers expired September 30, 2017 and unless Congress acts soon this medical safety net for thousands of Montanans could lose access to basic health care.

Federal lawmakers face another budget deadline Thursday.


Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, facing a tough re-election campaign this year, is hoping women voters will give him the push he needs to be elected to a third term in this increasingly Republican-leaning state.

The Democrat says history will determine whether the Women’s March was a moment or a movement still, “It certainly has the feel of a movement at this moment in time.”


Jackie Yamanaka

Saint Vincent Healthcare in Billings joins Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls in employing a health disparities coordinator.

Kassie Runsabove, in conversation with Jackie Yamanaka, talks about her work as a cultural liaison for Montana’s largest minority population – Native Americans.

Jackie Yamanaka

Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox will convene the first meeting Monday of the advisory group formed to address the impact of the closure of two coal-fired power plants in Colstrip.  This panel will help guide the disbursement of $10 million of economic impact funds provided by the owners of the Colstrip Generating Facility.

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.


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