Skip to Content

Oklahoma poverty numbers are part of a larger picture (Capitol Update)

by | September 18th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, Capitol Updates, Poverty & Opportunity | Comments (0)

Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1991. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol.

There’s an interesting, unsettling piece in a recent update by Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Courtney Cullison. It reviews new data from the Census Bureau that reminds us we are behind in Oklahoma when it comes to Oklahomans living in poverty and without health insurance. In 2017, nearly 1 in 6 Oklahomans (15.8 percent) were living with income below the poverty line ($24,600 for a family of four) before taxes. Worse, more than one in five (21.5 percent) of Oklahoma children live in a household below the poverty line. At the same time, Oklahoma’s uninsured rate increased to 14.2 percent (up from 13.8 percent in 2016.) This is the first increase in our uninsured rate since 2010 and puts us second highest in the nation of people uninsured.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: OK candidate spending reaches $33M; education is top issue for voters; OKC city manager to retire…

by | September 18th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Oklahoma candidate spending reaches $33 million as cash flows through multiple sources: Oklahoma candidates have already spent $33 million running for state offices this election cycle, with nearly half of that being pumped into the governor’s race. Another $2 million has flowed through outside groups, with most of that money targeted at the Republican races for governor and attorney general. [NewsOK] 2018 Oklahoma State Questions and Elections [OK Policy]

Pollsters: Education is the top issue for voters in November: Oklahoma’s November ballots will include races for nearly 100 lawmakers, including re-election bids for some of the state’s most high-profile members. In addition to the statewide races for governor and other top executive positions, a majority of state lawmaker seats are up for grabs. [Journal Record 🔒] A former Oklahoma teacher of the year has five ideas for how you can honor the work of public school teachers [Stephanie Canada-Phillips / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma City’s longtime city manager, Jim Couch, to retire in January: Jim Couch announced Monday that he would retire in January after 18 years as city manager of Oklahoma City. Couch, 62, said after 31 years with the city he feels like he has “another chapter” to write in his career, though he has no particular plans. A South Dakota native, he said he plans to stay in Oklahoma City. [NewsOK]

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Dark money spending record; renewed push for lobbying ban; Walmart officials defend SQ 793…

by | September 17th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Dark-money’ spending hits record in Oklahoma, with surge to come: Political spending by secretive groups that are allowed to hide their donors have already spent what is likely a record amount this year to influence Oklahoma political races. An Oklahoma Watch review of campaign finance records found so-called “dark money” groups had spent nearly $2.7 million on Oklahoma’s legislative, statewide and congressional races by the end of August. [Oklahoma Watch] Oklahoma’s biggest dark-money players [Oklahoma Watch]

Ethics Commission continues to push for two-year ban on lobbying by former lawmakers: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission on Friday voted unanimously to resubmit a rule to lawmakers that would ban them from lobbying for two years once they leave office. The ban also would cover chief administrative officers for state agencies and other elected state officials. Last year, lawmakers rejected the rule. [Tulsa World]

Walmart officials respond to criticism of State Question 793, which allows eye exams in big box stores: Walmart officials on Thursday disputed claims that passage of a state question could result in inferior eye care in their stores. At issue is State Question 793. If approved by voters, it would let big-box stores such as Walmart offer eye care. It would also amend the constitution. [Tulsa World] State Question 793 fact sheet [OK Policy]

Continue Reading »

The Weekly Wonk: Falling behind on poverty & uninsured rate—again; raising the minimum wage; we’re all in it together…

by | September 16th, 2018 | Posted in Weekly Wonk | Comments (0)

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

This week, Economic Opportunity and Financial Security Policy Analyst Courtney Cullison published an analysis of new Census data which shows that Oklahoma fell further behind the U.S. on poverty and uninsured rate for the second consecutive year. Fall Intern Deon Osborne pointed to the citizen petition as Oklahoma’s best chance at raising the minimum wage

In his weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt wrote about Chobani’s enlightened view of corporate responsibility which recognizes that we’re all in it together. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update described the cost of maintaining the world’s highest incarceration rate

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Carly Putnam spoke with The Journal Record about the need to find affordable solutions to health insurance in Oklahoma. Our fact sheet on State Question 798 was cited by CHNI

Continue Reading »

In The Know: OK further behind on poverty and uninsured; candidates endorse municipal property tax…

by | September 14th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

New Census data shows that Oklahoma fell further behind the U.S. on poverty and uninsured rate for second consecutive year: Oklahoma lags behind the nation in our efforts to help families get ahead. New data from the Census Bureau shows that poverty in Oklahoma is still above the national average. In 2017, nearly 1 in 6 Oklahomans (15.8 percent) were living with income below the poverty line ($24,600 for a family of four) before taxes. [OK Policy

Oklahoma climbed to third-heaviest state in 2017: Oklahoma jumped to the third-heaviest state in 2017, from the already unenviable position of eighth, according to the Trust for America’s Health’s new report on obesity. The obesity rate increased to 36.5 percent, making Oklahoma one of seven states where more than 35 percent of adults have obesity. Only West Virginia and Mississippi had higher obesity rates. [NewsOK]

Legislators seek alternatives to school suspensions: Some of Oklahoma’s top mental health and juvenile justice officials are helping lawmakers as they call for the state to reconsider its use of out-of-school suspension, especially among young students. There has been a push in the Legislature to require schools to consider alternatives to suspension or to mandate an appeals process for children who get suspended. [Journal Record]

Continue Reading »

New Census data shows that Oklahoma fell further behind the U.S. on poverty and uninsured rate for second consecutive year

Oklahoma lags behind the nation in our efforts to help families get ahead. New data from the Census Bureau shows that poverty in Oklahoma is still above the national average. In 2017, nearly 1 in 6 Oklahomans (15.8 percent) were living with income below the poverty line ($24,600 for a family of four) before taxes.  And though the percentage of Oklahoma families living in poverty is lower than it was last year (16.3 percent), the distance between Oklahoma’s poverty rate and the national rate has widened.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Public defender system needs money; growth of chicken farms examined; raising the minimum wage…

by | September 13th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Public defender system needs more money, observers say: Oklahoma’s state-appointed attorneys are seeing massive caseloads as their budgets decrease, and some observers said criminal justice reformers should place more focus on that portion of the judicial process. The Oklahoma Indigent Defense System’s caseload has more than doubled since 2007, according to the agency’s most recent annual report. Its state appropriations break down to less than $300 per case, which can include murder trials. [Journal Record]

State, Cherokee Nation announce plans to study growth of chicken farms in northeastern Oklahoma: The state of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation announced Wednesday that the state and tribe plan to form a coordinating council to evaluate the expansion of poultry farms in northeastern Oklahoma. The Coordinating Council on Poultry Growth will examine the expansion of poultry production and its impact on rural communities and citizens in the region, according to a media release issued by Gov. Mary Fallin’s office. [The Frontier]

Citizen Petition: Oklahoma’s best chance to raise the minimum wage: Workers shouldn’t have to struggle to survive on the minimum wage. Since the founding of Oklahoma, our state constitution has allowed for citizens to bring issues to a vote of the people through a signature-gathering process. The success of citizen petitions in recent years suggests that bringing a state minimum wage raise directly to the ballot has a better chance of passing in Oklahoma than through the state Legislature. [OK Policy]

Continue Reading »

Citizen Petition: Oklahoma’s best chance to raise the minimum wage

Deon Osborne is a fall intern with the Oklahoma Policy Institute. He recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media from the University of Oklahoma.

Workers shouldn’t have to struggle to survive on the minimum wage. Since the founding of Oklahoma, our state constitution has allowed for citizens to bring issues to a vote of the people through a signature-gathering process. The success of citizen petitions in recent years suggests that bringing a state minimum wage raise directly to the ballot has a better chance of passing in Oklahoma than through the state Legislature.

The minimum wage was established to give workers fair pay for their labor since 1938.  Yet, the value of the minimum wage hasn’t been able to keep up with the rising cost of living, placing working families in poverty. Today, 28,000 Oklahomans make the federal minimum wage of $15,080 per year or less. This $7.25 per hour minimum wage isn’t enough to live on, even in Oklahoma.  This low wage is especially detrimental to women. Working families are the backbone of our economy.  They shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying rent.

While Oklahoma lawmakers have not raised the minimum wage — and even passed legislation preventing raises in local minimum wage laws — four other politically conservative states have passed minimum wage hikes through citizen petitions in recent years.  A citizen petition may be low-income workers’ best chance to establish a livable, minimum wage.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: OK collections top estimate; VA chief criticizes audit; Gathering Place gun policy in question…

by | September 12th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (1)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Finance officials report Oklahoma collections top estimate: Collections to Oklahoma’s main state operating fund exceeded the official estimate by nearly 7 percent in August, buoyed mostly by better-than-expected individual income tax collections. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services released figures on Tuesday that show collections to the General Revenue Fund totaled $455 million last month. That’s an increase of 6.6 percent from the monthly estimate and nearly 10 percent over collections during the same month last year. [AP News]

Veterans affairs chief criticizes critical audit: The head of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday disputed several statements in an audit highly critical the agency he leads. Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Doug Elliott said during Tuesday’s commission meeting that many of the statements in the audit were not factual. The audit was requested in June 2017 by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter after his office received complaints from lawmakers and former staff. [Tulsa World]

‘In One Minute’ Video: The Lieutenant Governor’s Race: Find out who’s running for lieutenant governor of Oklahoma on Nov. 6 and the role the office plays in state government. This video series is presented by Oklahoma Watch and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma. [Oklahoma Watch] Find important dates, voter tools, and candidate information on our State Question and Elections page. [OK Policy]

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Costs of world’s highest incarceration; more women in #okleg; hard work beats campaign contributions…

by | September 11th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (2)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

(Capitol Update) The cost of maintaining the world’s highest incarceration: When it comes to mass incarceration, Oklahoma is No. 1 (in the world!) But what are the numbers behind this, by now, well known fact? And what effect does it have on Oklahoma’s state budget? Despite the efforts of Governor Fallin, many legislators, and participation by numerous stakeholders, the best the state has been able to do is slow the rate of increase in incarceration.  [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

More women in running for legislature. What are their chances in November? Before the first vote was even cast in Oklahoma’s elections this year, women had already made history. What is likely a record number of female candidates, 140, filed paperwork in April to run for one of the state’s 125 legislative seats to be decided in November. In a state where men outnumber women in the Legislature six to one, ranking Oklahoma 49th in percentage of legislators who are female (14%), many women’s advocates saw this as an opportunity to narrow the gender gap. [Oklahoma Watch]

Hard work beats campaign contributions in some runoff races: Oklahoma’s Republican runoff races were a good reminder: Candidates with large war chests don’t always win the race. Several candidates, including incumbents, outraised their competitors. Some of those people saw contributions that were tenfold their opponents’ and still didn’t nab the nomination. [Journal Record 🔒]

Continue Reading »

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. ...
  11. 428