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

This week, the topics of discussion from the Montana Legislature: a local option tax proposal and sentencing reform in the state’s criminal justice system.


Jackie Yamanaka

Students, campus officials, and others urged lawmakers to resist the up to $25 million budget cut proposed for the Montana University System (MUS) budget. They said it would reverse a decade of gains made to keep higher education accessible and affordable for low- and middle-income students.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian told the joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, officials are considering increasing tuition; cutting programs, faculty and staff; or a combination of the two.

“Any of those scenarios has dramatic impacts to students,” he said.


State Senator Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman, had a local option sales tax bill drafted, even though past Legislatures have rejected such proposals.

Phillips said what makes this proposal different is it would be temporary. The tax, to be enacted by local voters, would be in effect only long enough to pay for what he calls "critical" public works or infrastructure project and a minimum of 10% of the revenue raised would have to go to homeowners in the form of property tax relief.


Jackie Yamanaka

Veterans lined up to deliver emotional testimony in support of a Southwest Montana Veterans home.  They’re seeking a so-called “bridge loan” to begin construction before time runs out.

“We’re at a point where if we don’t get it done this (Legislative) session all of the work to get this built is wasted,” said Navy Veteran and registered nurse Tom Goyette. He said if construction doesn’t start by 2019 the land donated by Don Harrington will revert back to the family.


Jackie Yamanaka

In this week’s, Capitol Connections – the topic is TVMT, the service provides statewide, televised coverage of the Montana Legislature and state government. Essentially it is Montana’s C-SPAN.

Over the weekend, the Helena Independent Record had a story with the headline: “Senate Passes Bill Allowing State Control of Legislative Coverage.”  It was in response to the final approval given to Senate Bill 40 last week in the Montana Senate.


Jackie Yamanaka

A Republican from Winnett is worried about the student loan debt saddling college students.

Representative Bill Harris worries the debt load on college students may force them to leave the state and Montana employers are looking for workers.  He hopes his House Bill 239 bridges that gap.


Jackie Yamanaka

The priorities Governor Steve Bullock promoted last night during his 3rd State of the State Address were familiar themes from past speeches and from last fall’s re-campaign.

“Fiscal responsibility. Education. Infrastructure. Job Creation. Caring for others,” Bullock summarized.


Jackie Yamanaka

Bills to assist the town of Colstrip deal with the pending closure of 2 coal-fired power generation plants are working their way through the legislative process. Some Colstrip residents organized an evening reception for lawmakers to draw attention to the issue.


Jackie Yamanaka

In this week’s, Capitol Connections the topic is the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. U.S. Senator Jon Tester said Monday in an address to the Montana House that repeal is imminent, but a replacement isn’t ready.


Jackie Yamanaka

Local government officials said the state is unfairly shifting the cost of housing the state’s prisoners to their taxpayers.  They are asking lawmakers to restore the payments to the actual costs

The root of the problem, said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry is the sheer number of state inmates.


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