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

The House Education Committee approved an interim study bill to review the current structure of the Montana University system.

In 1994, the Montana Board of Regents took the separate campuses and consolidated them under either the University of Montana or Montana State University.

Representative Kathy Kelker, D-Billings, said House Joint Resolution 27 would look at how that reorganization has fared over the past 2 dozen years.

Montana State University

Lawmakers gave preliminary approval to two bills that issue bonds to pay for numerous public works and building projects. Changes to House Bill 645 now make the proposal closer to the Senate’s bonding bill.


Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced he lifted the moratorium on federal coal leases.   

The action came after President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday that included calling on a review of that moratorium.

Jackie Yamanaka

This week on Capitol Connections YPR's Jackie Yamanaka is joined in conversation by two state Representatives, Daniel Zolnikov, R-Billings, and Kim Abbott, D-Helena.

Jackie Yamanaka

Senate Bill 331, like Montana’s existing resort tax, would have allowed larger municipalities to ask their voters whether to impose a sales tax on so-called luxury goods and services purchased by tourists and visitors.  This bill had a twist in that it would sunset after the identified infrastructure project was completed.


Jackie Yamanaka

The Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill to continue to allow tribal members to hunt buffalo near Yellowstone National Park in accordance with the traditional ceremonies of each tribe.

There had been a sunset on the original legislation that granted 2 free state issued buffalo hunting permits per year to tribes. House Bill 108 seeks to continue the practice.


Jackie Yamanaka

Senate Republicans are moving quickly on an infrastructure bill. The Senate Finance and Claims committee on a 15-3 vote Friday afternoon approved a nearly $99 million dollar bonding bill. The action sends Senate Bill 367 to the floor for debate.

The Bullock Administration supported the Senate bill but spoke against the House Republican’s infrastructure package this morning.

Jackie Yamanaka

The pace is picking up at the Montana Legislature. A Senate committee has begun its work on the state’s main budget bill, less than a week after receiving it from the House.

Welcome to Capitol Connections. I’m Jackie Yamanaka. This week, we’ll check in with Senate President Scott Sales, but first an update on funding for early childhood and special education.


Jackie Yamanaka

House Democrats say they won’t support a new House Republican infrastructure proposal that would issue bonds to pay for rural water, wastewater, some road and school projects.

When it comes to infrastructure at the Montana Legislature even a simple matter over whether there were negotiations on the topic is up for dispute.


Jackie Yamanaka

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote this week on a bill that would give a one-percent pay raise for state employees.


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