The Weekly Wonk: New KIDS COUNT report; State Question 800; pay your interns…

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, Strategy and Communications Director Gene Perry analyzed data from the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report, Opening Doors for Young Parents, and found that Oklahoma is missing opportunities to give young adult parents and their kids a boost. Executive Director David Blatt delved into State Question 800, where voters will decide whether to set aside a portion of future oil and gas revenues for a new reserve fund

In his weekly Journal Record column, Blatt stressed the importance of paying interns and the dangers of expecting students to work for free. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update shed light on findings from a recent interim study on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Upcoming Opportunities

Today is the last day to submit a public comment on the Medicaid plan: This is your last chance to submit a public comment and encourage your friends to do so as well. At the direction of Governor Fallin and the state legislature, the state Medicaid agency has put together a plan to cut vital health coverage for low-income parents who don’t report working or volunteering enough hours. The deadline to submit a public comment on OHCA’s Medicaid proposal is today, September 30th. You can use this question survey or this quick form to send your public comment. You can watch and share public comments submitted by SoonerCare patients here and here.

Oklahoma Watch-Out Candidate Forum in Lawton: TogetherOK and Oklahoma Watch are teaming up for a legislative candidate forum in Lawton on Tuesday, October 9. The forum will be free and open to the public and will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the McMahon Centennial Complex. Oklahoma Watch Executive Editor David Fritze will moderate the discussion, and audience questions will be allowed. For more information, visit the Facebook event page

Weekly What’s That

Open Meetings Act, What’s That?

Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act (25 O.S. Sections 301-314) requires all public bodies to file advance notice of regularly scheduled and special meetings with the Secretary of State, as well as advance notice of changes in date, time, or location of regularly scheduled meetings. Under the Act, agendas for regular and special meetings must be posted in a publicly-accessible location for at least 24 hours prior to its meeting, and agendas must identify all items of business of the meeting. Click here to read more

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

Quote of the Week

“We are a poor state and we are a state with rich resources. But we have not provided the right combination of opportunity and investment to have healthy communities, strong families and well educated kids. We want kids to have a competitive edge but it is only going to happen with resources.”

-State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister [Stillwater News Press]

Editorial of the Week

Oklahoma needs restorative system for women in prison

… These bills are a step in the right direction, but I encourage Oklahoma’s leaders to take additional steps to ensure that punishments meted out to Oklahoma’s mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts are fair and proportional. Our nation’s decades-long experiment in over-incarceration has shown, over and over, that harsher sentences don’t yield safer streets, and locking women up unnecessarily is a poor use of taxpayer dollars. [Craig Deroche / NewsOK]

Numbers of the Day

  • -5% – Projected change in Oklahoma’s under 65 population by 2030
  • $4,786,915 – Federal grants awarded to Oklahoma community health centers to expand access to mental health and substance use disorder services
  • 38% – Percentage of Oklahomans with a bachelor’s degree or higher whose degree is in science and engineering or a related field
  • 68% – Percentage increase in the number of drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma from 2007-2016
  • 4.1% – Share of Oklahoma City Metro Area workforce that usually works from home.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • 40 percent of Americans struggle to pay for at least one basic need like food or rent [Market Watch]
  • The hidden resilience of ‘food desert’ neighborhoods [Civil Eats]
  • A benefit of free lunch for all: fewer students get repeatedly suspended, new study suggests. [Chalk Beat]
  • One big problem with Medicaid work requirement: People are unaware it exists. [New York Times]
  • Many young people don’t vote because they never learned how. Here’s a free class now in schools trying to change that. [Washington 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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