Capitol Connections

Wednesdays from 6:30-7:00PM During the Legislative Session

Veteran statehouse reporters Jackie Yamanaka and Chuck Johnson sit down with members of the 2017 Montana Legislature to talk about the issues lawmakers are working on, discuss why they are important, and the broader impact it will have on the state and region. 

Jackie Yamanaka

As senators who are both hitting their term-limits, Chas Vincent, R-Libby, and Mary Caferro, D-Helena, both agree that as a state with term limits, elected officials must understand and communicate with each other, not only in their own caucus, but across the aisle.

Jackie Yamanaka

The 65th Session of the Montana Legislature is winding down, but there are pieces yet to be put into place before lawmakers can adjourn.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, talks about the negotiations taking place with the Governor to bring this session to a close.

Jackie Yamanaka

Our guests discuss legislative efforts to make Montana an attractive site for two emerging industries. One helps agriculture, a traditional industry; the other is aimed at the burgeoning high-tech industry in the state.


Jackie Yamanaka

The 65th Legislative Assembly is heading into its final weeks and the pace is picking up.

On this week’s program: the budget and suicide prevention

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

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

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.


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

There are 9 American Indian legislators in the 65th Montana Legislature, according to self-reporting to the Legislative Services Division. That’s about 6% of the 150 members. These 9 lawmakers have joined forces with at least 7 other legislative colleagues with American Indian constituents to form the Montana American Indian Caucus.


Legislative Services

Two of the projects in the Democratic Bullock Administration’s major infrastructure proposal are aimed at helping Montana’s veterans.  One is the Southwest Montana Veterans Home, which is awaiting one final piece of funding. The other project is the proposed renovation of Romney Hall at Montana State University to include veterans services.

This week's guest on Capitol Connections  is Representative Ray Shaw, R-Sheridan. He rarely speaks, but when the discussion turns to veteran’s issues, his passion ignites. In this program, he talks about why, beginning with his service in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam.


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