The Weekly Wonk: Americans with Disabilities Act, 50 years of Medicare and Medicaid, and more

the_weekly_wonkWhat’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.

In The Know, OK Policy’s weekday morning news roundup, will be taking a break through Wednesday, August 5th, due to our third annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI). You can follow along with SPI on Twitter with the hashtag #okspi.

In The Know will resume on Thursday, August 6th. If you don’t currently receive In The Know and would like to, you can sign up here.

This Week from OK Policy

This week on the OK Policy Blog, guest blogger and Summer Policy Institute 2014 participant Britany Burris explained why the Americans with Disabilities Act is a gift to all Americans. Executive Director David Blatt shared the importance of Medicaid and Medicare as they celebrate their 50th year. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis discussed new Office of Juvenile Affairs charter schools for youth who are at risk or have special needs.

In a guest post, Laura Goldring of MaddieLuke, LTD called for more attention and advocacy around senior hunger. Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed Oklahoma’s heavily gendered political offices. A previous blog post examined the topic in greater detail.

OK Policy is hiring! We are seeking an experienced and effective policy analyst to lead our work on economic issues affecting low- and moderate-income Oklahomans. Applications are due by Monday, August 24th. You can learn more here

Weekly What’s That

Shell bill

A shell bill is a bill that is introduced at the beginning of the legislative session with little or no substantive language. Shell bills are intended to serve as a placeholder for legislative proposals to be filled in later. Shell bills will typically include nothing more than a title that describes the section of law being changed or some meaningless wording changes. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“I question why the [Ten Commandments] monument was placed outside of the Capitol building in the first place. Was it to imply that Oklahoma is a ‘Godly’ state? When we abuse and murder our women and children at one of the highest rates in the country? When we suffer one of the highest child hunger and poverty rates in the country? When our teen pregnancy and divorce rates are shockingly high? When we choose to incarcerate the mentally ill and addicts rather than providing preventative treatment and therapy?  Given that, can we not do a better job of expressing our faith than placing a monument on the Capitol grounds?”

– Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week

Arnold Hamilton, Journal Record

We don’t know – nor do we need to – why Christina Fallin needed her parents’ help, or why Fallin’s adult stepson lives in a garage apartment on the mansion grounds.

What we do know is that the Boomerang Generation is reality. Far too many young adults can’t make ends meet, mostly because of low-wage jobs and crippling college loans (an average $35,000 each for 2015 grads).

According to a recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York report, 30 percent of 25-year-olds lived with their parents in 1999. By 2013, that had risen to nearly 50 percent.

Fallin is uniquely positioned to help put Oklahoma families on a better, more self-sufficient path. But it would require a 180-degree turn from the policies she embraced during her first four-and-a-half years in office.

Numbers of the Day

  • $122 – The average per person monthly assistance for Oklahomans who received SNAP (food stamp) benefits in FY 2014.
  • 577,160 – Number of Oklahomans with one or more disabilities, 15.6 percent of the state’s population.
  • 36.8 percent – Percentage of veterans in Oklahoma who served during the Vietnam era, compared to 30.7 percent who served since the first Gulf War.
  • 7,054 – Number of Oklahomans with developmental disabilities on a waiting list for home- and community-based services (as of March 2015).
  • $1,605 – Typical property taxes for a median-value home in Oklahoma City, 42nd highest out of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. Tulsa ranked 41st, with $1,644 in property taxes for a median-value home.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

What We’re Reading

  • In America, mass incarceration has caused more crime than it’s prevented [Quartz].
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit – America’s best program for the poor – may be even better than we thought [Vox].
  • Outrage over the EPA emissions regulations is fading as states figure out how to work with them [Washington Post].
  • Immigration bolsters the workforce, promotes innovation, and adds to the economy. So American cities are fighting to attract attract immigrants – not drive them away [The Atlantic].
  • The prison phone business is pushing more and more costs onto the backs of the incarcerated and their families [International Business Times].


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.

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