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

Legislators are considering legislation to help the citizens of Colstrip and the state of Montana weather the pending closure of 2 coal fired power plants by requiring the plants owners compensate the community for the economic loss.  


Montana Office of Tourism

Lawmakers are considering whether to give local governments the authority to ask their voters to approve a local option sales tax. The money raised would be used to provide property tax relief and pay for public works projects. 

Senate Bill 331 is based on the existing resort tax model that’s assessed on goods and services purchased by tourists.  Current state law restricts the resort tax only for communities with a population under 5,500 and draw a high number of tourists. Local residents vote to impose this tax. The money collected pays for public works projects and property tax relief.


American Society of News Editors and Reporters and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The American Library Association awarded U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-MT, its James Madison Award in recognition for his advocacy for government transparency and public access to government information. The award coincides with National Sunshine Week, March 12-18, 2017, that promotes the public’s right to know.


Jackie Yamanaka

The Republican controlled House Judiciary, on an 11-to-8 party line vote, passed a bill that would ban the application of foreign law in Montana courts. Senate Bill 97 now moves to the House floor for debate.


Tami Heilemann, Dept of Interior

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke cancelled the remainder of his trip back to Montana.

Zinke was originally scheduled to address a joint session of the Montana Legislature Monday, March 13, 2017. He was also scheduled to visit the BLM’s field office in Lewistown and the BLM’s Regional Headquarters in Billings the next day.


Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Senator Steve Daines answered questions and listened to his critics last night during his most recent telephone town hall meeting Wednesday night, March 8, 2017. 

Daines has been criticized by some Montanans for not holding in-person town hall meetings. The Republican has said the telephone town halls are a better way to reach more Montanans in this far-flung state.

Jackie Yamanaka

Schools, the state of Montana, and local governments all benefit from revenue from coal, directly and indirectly.  Besides income and property taxes, there’s also the severance tax on coal.  Half of that tax revenue goes into the permanent Coal Severance Tax Trust. That money can’t be spent without approval from at least three-fourths of both the Montana House and Senate. The other 50% goes to the state’s general fund and a myriad of projects, including for the long-range building program, conservation districts, the state Library Commission, and the cultural trust.


National Park Service

Tourism opportunities can be better promoted in Indian country, said Senator Lea Whitford of Cut Bank.  Her Senate Bill 309 seeks to make sure Native voices are included on the Tourism Advisory Council and there’s money to help promote Indian Country because there is more to see than teepees and powwows.

Whitford said there’s also casinos, campgrounds, trails, fishing, heritage centers, museums, and art galleries.  


Legislative Services

This week our topics from the 2017 Montana Legislature are:  coal and prohibiting state courts from considering foreign laws.  

Guests:  Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, and Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell.


Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-MT, was greeted by supporters and protesters during his visit to the state Capitol.

Such stops to the Montana Legislature generally are routine for members of Montana’s Congressional Delegation. This year is different. Daines is among other federal lawmakers who’ve been besieged by constituents upset about the agenda promoted by President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress.


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