The Weekly Wonk: New laws in effect, insider takes, and more

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 from OK Policy:

A tax law that made tax breaks for oil and gas drilling permanent went into effect on July 1. We explain what it means for the state budget. A Senate Democrat and a House Republican share their insider takes on the 2015 legislative session. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis shares how budget cuts forced the state Medicaid agency to ferret out and eliminate wasteful spending – as well as coverage for important procedures. On the heels of a landmark case on the Affordable Care Act, Executive Director David Blatt explains what comes next. We are pleased to announce that Shiloh Kantz has been promoted to Director of Operations and Development.

OK Policy in the News:

KWGS spoke with Blatt in their coverage of the oil and gas tax break going into effect. Blatt was also featured in an Oklahoma Watch piece on turnover in the state’s health insurance market. Policy Director Gene Perry was quoted in a Journal Record article on a proposed overtime rule expected to take effect in 2016.

Weekly What’s That:

Open Meetings Act

Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act (25 O.S. s. 304) 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… Read more.

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

Quote of the Week:

“Tuition and fee hikes for Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities are becoming a habit — a habit only the Legislature, through adequate funding, could break.”

-The Tulsa World editorial board, who wrote that state funding cuts and the resulting tuition increases are hurting Oklahoma’s efforts to increase the number with college degrees (Source).

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Pat Malloy, The Tulsa World

Oklahoma simply cannot afford to independently establish a program to address the inability of our poor to obtain insurance. The Oklahoma Legislature faced a budget hole of more than $600 million this year as a result of falling oil and gas prices and the obsession of the current administration to cut taxes, despite falling revenues.

Interestingly, most of the governors who have refused to accept Medicaid are Republicans, However, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a fellow Republican, accepted the expansion of Medicaid in his state. When confronted with criticism for doing so, he responded that: “Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what did for the poor. You better have a good answer.”

Numbers of the Day:

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

What we’re Reading:

  • In both business and politics, the campaign for guaranteed paid sick leave is picking up steam [The New York Times].
  • Millennials don’t vote in local elections. Here’s why [Knight Foundation].
  • Where kids grow up has a big impact on what they earn as adults [Urban Institute].
  • For people criminal backgrounds, driver’s license suspensions create a cycle of debt [The New York 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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