The Weekly Wonk: Rally for coverage; protecting immigrant families; Stitt’s first veto; & more…

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, we rallied at the Capitol to send legislators a message: It’s time to expand coverage in Oklahoma! If you couldn’t make it there, you can still take action online. Write to your legislators and ask them to expand coverage this session. (We’re only 42 letters away from our goal!) You can also watch this short video of the rally or the full live-stream video on Facebook.

One of the most contentious education issues this session has been an effort to expand the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act. Education Policy Analyst Rebecca Fine explains how a bill to expand a scholarship tax credit would divert even more dollars from public education. The bill did not receive a vote in the full House before the deadline so it is dead for the year.

In the latest OK PolicyCast episode, Communications and Strategy Director Gene Perry spoke with Linda Allegro, Project Director at the New Sanctuary Movement – Tulsa. Linda speaks eloquently about how current approaches to immigration enforcement in Tulsa County are breaking apart families, hurting public safety, and wasting tax dollars.

In his weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt reflected on long-standing tensions between the Senate and House of Representatives. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update examined Governor’s Stitt’s first veto, which rejected citizen involvement in government. 

OK Policy in the News

The Rally for Coverage at the Capitol was covered by a number of media outlets, including Journal Record, NewsOK, Tulsa World, StateImpact Oklahoma, NonDoc, Public Radio Tulsa, KSWO, NewsOn6, News9, KFOR, KOCO, and FOX25. Policy Director Carly Putnam spoke with NewsOK and News9 about health coverage expansion in Oklahoma prior to the rally. The Journal Record also included information about the rally and Together OK  in a story on pressure mounting around coverage expansion. Blatt spoke with NewsOK for a story about conservative sentiment changing on expansion. The Muskogee Daily Phoenix Editorial Board cited OK Policy in an editorial supporting coverage expansion.

The Ardmoreite published the second piece in a two-part series on Together OK’s health care forum in Ardmore. Oklahoma Watch cited OK Policy data in a piece on this year’s criminal justice reform bills.

Upcoming Opportunities

2019 Summer Policy Institute: The Institute is open to any undergraduate or graduate student at an Oklahoma college or university, or graduate from an Oklahoma high school, who has completed a minimum of 24 hours of college credit or graduated December 2018 or later. The application deadline is May 27th, 2019.

Weekly What’s That

Engrossed bill, what’s that?

A bill that passes out of one chamber is engrossed, and then sent to the other chamber. If the bill passes the second chamber but not in its final form (e.g. it has been amended or has had its title or enacting clause stricken), it will again be engrossed. A bill that passes both chambers in its final form is enrolled. Click here to read more about engrossed bills.

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

Quote of the Week

“If people would recognize that it’s not just, ‘My neighbor who has no insurance, it’s their problem.’ But, ‘My neighbor has no insurance it’s my problem too, because it affects what I pay,’ then I think people would be more willing to say we must do something to change this.”

-Former State Senator Angela Monson, speaking at a rally calling on lawmakers to expand health coverage in Oklahoma [Source: NewsOn6]

Editorial of the Week

OUR VIEW: Time for health care expansion is now

Pressure is mounting on legislators to take the steps necessary to expand coverage for the more than 100,000 Oklahomans who lack access to affordable health care. If lawmakers fail to get the job done, voters could have the chance to do the job for them after two Oklahomans took the first steps required to present the measure as a ballot initiative. Voters in other so-called “red states” passed similar measures in 2018 after lawmakers refused to listen to their constituents, and we believe voters here should follow suit. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Numbers of the Day

  • 10,439 – Total population increase in Oklahoma from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018
  • $1.1 billion – Projected shortfall in funding to maintain existing state services by FY 2030 under Oklahoma’s current tax system
  • $1.58 – Estimated amount of local economic activity generated for every dollar spent on the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • 11.1% – Percentage of Oklahoma households with seniors that face food insecurity, higher than the national rate of 9.5%

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Georgia latest state to legalize needle exchange to stop HIV. [AP News]
  • ‘A Pileup of Inequities’: Why people of color are hit hardest by homelessness. [Stateline]
  • ‘Someone to speak for you’: Low-income tenants get lawyers for housing court. [NPR]
  • Lethal Plans: When seniors turn to suicide in long-term care. [Kaiser Health News]
  • What local government can do about the consumer-debt epidemic. [Governing]


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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