The Weekly Wonk: New CountySTATS fact sheets now available

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

OK Policy released our newly redesigned and updated CountySTATS fact sheets – get to know your county now! Executive Director David Blatt urged legislators to resist efforts to weaken agency independence by expanding the governor’s appointment power. Policy Director Carly Putnam shared a new report that outlines how Oklahoma schools can increase participation in school breakfast.

Blatt’s Journal Record column argued that there is an easy solution to part of Oklahoma’s revenue problem – eliminating the capital gains deduction would bring in at least $100 million a year. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update lamented that the state legislature has not yet made progress on reforming SQ 640 despite their complaints that the measure sets an impossible standard.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt spoke with CNHI about a bill that could mean the end of citizen-led petitions in Oklahoma. Putnam spoke with The Oklahoman about Governor Fallin’s executive order requiring the state to try to add a work requirement to Medicaid. Workday Minnesota used OK Policy data in their piece about the impending teacher strike.

Upcoming Opportunities

We are now accepting applications for our sixth annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI). SPI brings together dozens of undergraduate and graduate students from across the state for a three and a half-day intensive policy training. The application deadline is May 27, 2018. Click here to learn more and apply

Weekly What’s That

Oklahoma’s Promise

The Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), also known as Oklahoma’s Promise, is an early commitment financial aid program that covers tuition and other college costs for certain Oklahoma students. Eligible students receive a cash scholarship equal to tuition at a public university, which can be used to cover tuition, living expenses, books, and supplies. Students must enroll in a public or private 2- or 4-year Oklahoma college or in a career-technical center; meet the college’s admission requirements, and apply for additional financial aid. Once in college, students must maintain a minimum college GPA and meet other college requirements. Click here to read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“I am struggling to pay my bills. A student graduating from my class can become a QuikTrip full-time employee a year, two years later, making more than me.”

– Larry Cagle, who teaches an Advanced Placement course at Edison Preparatory School in Tulsa and is currently organizing a group of Oklahoma teachers to begin a strike of their own. (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Writers, Tulsa World

Third District Congressman Frank Lucas reaffirmed last week what many familiar with the federal food assistance programs already know. The Trump administration’s proposal to replace the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, with “food boxes” is ridiculous….Trump’s proposal does not include costs for packaging or delivery and doesn’t include fresh food or dairy. No current infrastructure exists for getting monthly food packages to the 40 million SNAP recipients, many of whom have dietary restrictions. In short, it’s a simplistic, one-size-fits-all solution to complex diet issues that would result in higher costs and less effective solutions to hunger.

Numbers of the Day

  • 11.7% – Percentage of Oklahoma’s class of 2017 who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school, 7th lowest in the nation and just over half the national average (22.8%).
  • 12.2% – Increase in opioid overdose deaths in Oklahoma in the 12-month period ending in July 2017 compared to the previous 12 months.
  • 48th – Oklahoma’s ranking in a US News & World report assessment of how well states are meeting their residents’ health care needs
  • 79% – Amount by which the uninsured rate for opioid-related hospitalizations fell in Medicaid expansion states. In states that didn’t expand coverage, including Oklahoma, the uninsured rate for opioid-related hospitalizations fell by just 5 percent.
  • 33 – Number of counties in Oklahoma where the 2016 population was lower than in the first Census after statehood (1910).

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

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