The Weekly Wonk: Pre-runoff update; OK’s conservative grip loosening; medical marijuana advocates and regulators split

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

The OK Policy team spent the week with 62 of Oklahoma’s brightest students for a deep-dive on public policy in Oklahoma at the 2018 Summer Policy Institute. Check out photos from SPI here. For recaps on presentations and panel discussions, you can visit our Twitter page for threads on topics like Criminal Justice, Health Care, Education, Economic Security, and more.

In a pre-runoff update, Executive Director David Blatt listed five things we know about Oklahoma’s 2018 legislative elections. In his Journal Record column, he wrote about increasing signs that conservatism’s grip on Oklahoma politics is loosening. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update explored several issues that are dividing medical marijuana advocates and regulators

OK Policy in the News

Open Justice Oklahoma provided the data for a Tulsa World piece on eviction court filings in Tulsa County reaching a 10-year peak in 2017. Tulsa World editorial writer Ginnie Graham cited OK Policy’s work on the problems with sales tax holidays. The Stillwater News Press cited OK Policy data on state elections in an article detailing discussions at a Stillwater League of Women Voters Luncheon. The Tahlequah Daily-Press published our announcement on the launch of a new Fellowship program to prepare early-career professionals to become highly competent advocates for impactful policy reform.

Upcoming Opportunities

Tuesday, August 7th: There are just a few days left to apply for a paid, part-time internship in our Tulsa office during the Fall 2018 semester. If you or someone you know is looking to be part of a team that’s fighting to make Oklahoma better for all Oklahomans, visit our internship page for full details

Monday, August 13th: There are three mental health positions available, and the deadline to apply for all positions is just over a week away. We’re hiring a Mental Health Policy Analyst/Fellowship Coordinator and two Mental Health Policy Fellows.

Weekly What’s That

FQHCs, What’s That?

Federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) are community health centers that meet certain qualifications and are thus eligible for certain grants. FQHCs must serve an underserved area or population, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, have an ongoing quality assurance program, and have a governing board of directors. FQHCs provide services regardless of ability to pay or immigration status. In Oklahoma, 20 FQHCs in more than 90 locations served more than 220,000 patients in 2017.

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

Quote of the Week

“It’s a crucial step forward, but many more must be taken. The challenges facing Oklahoma classrooms cannot be remedied by a one-year fix any more than one time on a treadmill makes you ready for the Olympics. It’s time to build on this significant momentum.”

-State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, speaking about the Oklahoma teacher pay raise that went into effect Wednesday [Tulsa World]

Editorial of the Week

Ginnie Graham: I’d rather pay the 9 percent tax for school supplies to help public education

If a sale advertised 9 percent off merchandise, I wouldn’t stop. I need at least 15 percent off to grab my attention enough for browsing a store. My frugal grandmothers would have frowned upon my attitude and shaken their heads before explaining every discount, every dollar, counts. I love them, but not all discounts are worth it. Oklahoma’s tax-free shopping holiday is this weekend, and I am happily sitting this one out. [Tulsa World]

Numbers of the Day

  • $932,520 – Average income of the top 1 percent of earners in Oklahoma in 2015. The state average for the remaining 99 percent was $52,533
  • 78,264 – Number of Oklahoma veterans with a disability connected to their military service, 27 percent of all veterans in the state

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading


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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