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

The U-S Environmental Protection Agency redesignated Billings as in compliance with federal air pollution standards.

Governor Steve Bullock says this is the first time EPA has reversed a non-attainment decision

The EPA’s nonattainment designation was handed down in 2013. Federal officials pointed to the closure of the coal-fired Corette Power Plant as improving the air quality.  But state officials disagree that’s the reason for the re-designation.

Jackie Yamanaka

Both of the major candidates in Montana’s gubernatorial race agree infrastructure funding is important for the state and its citizens.

Governor Steve Bullock announced his plan for the 2017 Legislative Session during a stop in Billings.

The Democrat says this proposal melds together ideas negotiated with the Republican majority in the 2015 session that narrowly failed.

Art Wolfe, Seattle WA

  A photograph of two Yellowstone Park bison is among the 16 Forever Stamp images  to be unveiled to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National park Service.

The image was captured by Art Wolfe of Seattle, Washington.

In a press release from Yellowstone National Park, Wolfe describes the setting for his photograph.

Art Wolfe, Seattle WA

A photograph of two Yellowstone Park bison is among the 16 Forever Stamp images  to be unveiled to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National park Service.

The image was captured by Art Wolfe of Seattle, Washington.

Jackie Yamanaka

Billings Senior High School saved taxpayers $85,000 in energy costs over a 4-month period.

Governor Steve Bullock applauds the effort and awarded the school $1,000 for its efforts under the SMART (Saving Money and Resources Today) Schools Challenge. 

During a visit to Billings Senior, Bullock recognized the school for providing a learning environment that’s also energy sustainable.

Jackie Yamanaka

Many Yellowstone County Employers say they “don’t know” when asked to rate how well education and training providers in Billings are helping them meet their workforce needs.

The finding was from a BillingsWorks survey conducted for the Big Sky Economic Development Authority.

Respondents were asked to rate the numerous programs in Billings. This includes the high schools to adult education to higher education.


Debate over new law in North Carolina aimed at civil rights for the LBGT community has become a campaign issue across the country, including Montana’s gubernatorial contest.

Anthony Romero, attorney and executive director of the ACLU, is scheduled to be in Montana April 13 and 14, 2016 to discuss this and other civil liberty issues. 

Jackie Yamanaka

Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Ryan Zinke, say they need a partner in Montana’s statehouse.

That is why the two Republican members of the state’s Congressional delegation endorsed Greg Gianforte’s campaign for governor.

But the campaign manger for Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock scoffed at the “news.” Eric Hyers charges this event was called to distract attention away Gianforte’s support of discriminatory laws passed in states like North Carolina.

Gianforte says his focus is on jobs, especially on keeping coal jobs in Montana.

Montana is rich in wind resources, but the demand currently doesn’t support the high cost, according to wind and utility expert.

Rob Gramlich of the American Wind Energy Association says Texas, Iowa, and California are the top states taking advantage of wind power.

He says even though Montana isn’t in the top five there are opportunities.

Gramlich says Montana is “the biggest expected source of wind power across the west.”

Jackie Yamanaka

One of the owners of Colstrip Units 1 and 2 denies his company is angling for a fast-track closure of the coal-fired power plants.

Steve Secrist, general council for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) told attendees at the Montana Energy Conference the utility is looking to the long-term.

A bill passed earlier this year by the Washington State Legislature sets up a mechanism to fund a decommissioning and clean-up of the two oldest units at the Colstrip power plant.