The Weekly Wonk: 2014 Poverty Profile, taking care of our veterans, and more…

the_weekly_wonkWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly W onk 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, we released the 2014 Oklahoma Poverty Profile. The Poverty Profile uses Census Bureau to visualize poverty statistics in Oklahoma. Intern Chan Aaron asked if  the state is doing enough to help returning veterans. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt described the disconnect between lawmakers’ concern about food insecurity and their opposition to a living wage. 

Policy Director Gene Perry wrote that the lottery’s contribution to education funding has reached a new low. Perry had previously explained why the lottery didn’t fix education funding problems. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis discussed whether law enforcement consolidation would improve public safety.

Weekly What’s That

State Question 640

State Question 640 was a citizen-initiated ballot measure that was approved by Oklahoma voters in a special election in March 1992 with 56.2 percent of the vote. The measure amended Article 5, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution to add restrictions on how revenue bills can become law. Read more.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“One of the big blind spots on the political right is not recognizing that the people on the bottom have been excluded. We have an exclusionary system, and the solution to that is not simply adhering more to markets; it’s remembering our morals. Part of being a conservative is remembering that morals come before markets.”

– Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who spoke at Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs Liberty Gala on Wednesday (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week

Katherine Bishop, The Oklahoman

If we want to truly have robust conversations around how to educate the next generation of students and how to fill the skills gaps, the conversation has to include teachers. We need practitioners from the field and voices from our children’s classrooms sharing real-life stories. We need to be willing to bring those most affected by this conversation to the table to have open, engaging dialogue and be willing to truly listen to what students need to be ready for the workforce.

Numbers of the Day

  • 36% – Percentage of Oklahoma children who did not have access to fluoridated water in 2012.
  • 22.6% – Poverty rate for Oklahomans with a disability in 2014, compared to 15.5% for Oklahomans with no disability.
  • 17.6 – Road fatalities in Oklahoma per 100,000 people, the 6th highest rate in the U.S.
  • $7,672 – The annual amount of money spent by elementary-secondary public school systems per student in Oklahoma, $3,028 less than the national average.
  • 14% – Percentage of children living in areas of concentrated poverty in Oklahoma 2009-2013

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • As it turns out, a lot of our assumptions about lobbying and corruption are wrong [Washington Post].
  • Why police could seize a college student’s life savings without charging him for a crime [Vox].
  • Housing segregation isn’t gone. It just looks a little different [Pacific Standard].
  • Here’s why a federal judge took the extraordinary step of expunging the conviction of a woman he’d sentenced to probation more than a decade earlier  [New York Times].
  • A universal basic income is the bipartisan solution to poverty we’ve been waiting for [Fast Company]



Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.