The Weekly Wonk: Future of medical marijuana; been down so long; budget committee chairs appointed

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, Criminal Justice Policy Analyst Damion Shade examined the future of medical marijuana in Oklahoma and noted that legislators will have many issues to settle next year. 

In his weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt cautioned that although the legislature took steps forwards, we’ve yet to restore our public resources to levels needed to ensure that all Oklahomans can thrive. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update gave us a breakdown of the Senators appointed as budget committee chairs by Senate President Pro Tempore-designate Greg Treat.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt spoke with The Intercept about a new trend emerging among Republican primary voters. He also spoke with KTUL about trends in Oklahoma’s governor race. 

Upcoming Opportunities

Last week to buy tickets for our anniversary gala: The last day to buy tickets for our 10th Anniversary Gala is this Friday, September 7th. Seating is limited and we have fewer than 70 tickets left, so buy your tickets today! The dinner is September 13th at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market. We will honor two of Oklahoma’s most distinguished public servants, Sandy Garrett and Kris Steele, with our Good Sense/Good Cents Award for their lifetimes of civic engagement. Our keynote speaker will be Ian Frazier, one of America’s leading humorists and feature writers. For those attending from the Tulsa area, there will be free bus transportation. Click here to get your ticket today.

Public comment period on Medicaid plan extended: Last week we told you the deadline to submit a public comment on the state’ s proposal to terminate health coverage for those unable to meet a work requirement was just over a week away and urged you to make your voice heard. This week, the state Medicaid agency extended the deadline from Sept. 3 to Sept. 30! This means that we’re making a difference. If you’ve already commented, please encourage friends and family to do the same. You can learn more about the proposal here, and leave a comment through this form.

Weekly What’s That

General Revenue Fund, What’s That?

The General Revenue (GR) Fund is the principal funding source for most Oklahoma government operations. Any revenue that is not restricted for a specific purpose flows into the general fund. The Legislature may direct money out of this fund for any legal purpose of the government. Click here to read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“I think there’s a pretty clear message that the ‘Yes’ vote on HB 1010 was the right vote, but I think we need to keep moving the state forward. I think that tells us what I’ve been saying for a while, which is that the people wanted solutions.”

– House Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-OKC) on last night’s runoff results. Of the 10 House Republican incumbents in runoffs yesterday, the three who voted in favor of the teacher pay raise kept their seats, while six of the seven who voted against the measure were defeated [NonDoc]

Editorial of the Week

Scott Melson, M.D.: Medicaid work requirement rule is ill-conceived

Coverage losses on the scale described by Kaiser force affected individuals and families to forgo or delay care for acute and chronic illness, further stressing hospitals and emergency rooms. And, given the recent budget crisis in Oklahoma, a dramatic increase in administrative costs seems imprudent at best. I see hard-working individuals and families every day whose lives will be upended by this policy, which is ill-conceived at best and intentionally punitive at worst. Rather than insulting the dignity of SoonerCare members, the governor and Legislature should be trying to strengthen our education and health care systems, as well as build an economy that works for all Oklahomans. [NewsOK]

Numbers of the Day

  • 6.8% – Unemployment rate in McIntosh County, June 2018, highest in Oklahoma
  • 2% – Percentage of Oklahomans who couldn’t vote in 2016 because of felony convictions, up from 0.8% in 1980
  • 13.0% – Percentage of all Oklahoma jobs that are in local government (July 2018), the highest of any sector
  • 75.9% – Percentage of Oklahoma infants born in 2015 who were ever breastfed, the 5th lowest rate in the U.S.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • The changing state of recidivism: Fewer people going back to prison. [Pew Trusts]
  • To keep women from dying in childbirth, look to California. [NPR]
  • ‘I’m somewhere bettering myself’: Prison reform unlike any other in America. [Governing]
  • The outsize hold of the word ‘welfare’ on the public imagination. [New York Times]
  • In U.S., wage growth is being wiped out entirely by inflation. [Washinton Post]


Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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