The Weekly Wonk February 22, 2015

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week on the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt reviewed contentious policy issues that seem unlikely to appear on the legislative agenda this session. Sean Wallace, Executive Director of Oklahoma Corrections Professionals, called for the legislature to pass common-sense sentencing reform. Rachel V. Cobb of Suffolk University explained the benefits of online voter registration. A post on the Together Oklahoma blog shared seven ways to get your legislators’ attention.

On the OK PolicyCast, a panel from our 2015 State Budget Summit share insights on what’s really going on with the state economy. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

In his Journal Record column, Blatt discussed how restrictions on employment for ex-felons can make working a crime. Policy Director Gene Perry called for a range of policy shifts to allow ex-felons to readjust to rebuild their lives outside prison. Perry previously described three barriers to life after prison on the OK Policy Blog.

KGOU and Public Radio Tulsa shared excerpts of OK Policy’s statement responding to the news that the state budget hole had reached $600 million. The full statement can be found here.

Quote of the Week:

“In just three to four years, someone who starts out at minimum [wage at Chipotle] could be at apprentice level and I was stunned to learn they would make more than a teacher with a Ph.D and 25 years of experience.”

– State superintendent of schools Joy Hofmeister, discussing the state’s education funding crisis (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Policy Director Gene Perry, The Oklahoman

As we consider the best reforms to reduce the number in prison, we should also look at what happens after inmates return home. In numerous ways, Oklahoma puts up obstacles that can make it difficult just to survive out of prison, much less make a positive contribution to society. With an estimated one in 12 Oklahomans having a felony conviction in their past, these barriers affect a substantial part of our state’s population.

Numbers of the Day:

  • $1.46 million – The estimated lifetime earnings of an Oklahoma City Public Schools teacher, lowest out of all 125 large districts studied in a national report.
  • 1,170 – Approximate number of Oklahoma high school students who scored high enough on the AP US History exam in 2013 to earn college credit. Multiple legislative proposals this year seek to ban the teaching of AP US History.
  • 27.8 – Years Oklahoma has gone without raising its gas tax, second only to Alaska.
  • 5.80% – Percentage of Oklahomans age 18-64 who receive Social Security disability assistance.
  • 124,838- Number of health plan selections in Oklahoma on from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15, 2015

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What we’re Reading:


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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