The Weekly Wonk: Retroactive justice reform is a moral necessity; 2018, Year of the Woman?

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, Criminal Justice Policy Analyst Damion Shade explained why making recent justice reform retroactive is not only smart policy but also a moral necessity. Executive Director David Blatt analyzed the surge of women candidates in Oklahoma and asked whether 2018 will be the Year of the Woman.

Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update cautioned against concluding that that state’s recent revenue growth will be a windfall. In his weekly Journal Record column, David Blatt wrote about the untapped potential of young voters and the change they could bring to Oklahoma. 

OK Policy in the News

Blatt spoke with The Journal Record about the corporate income tax in Oklahoma. Blatt also spoke with CHNI about the election gender gap.  

Legislative Director Bailey Perkins joined KOSU for their weekly podcast, This Week in Oklahoma Politics. The Miami News-Record cited OK Policy’s State Question facts sheets in a story about the November elections.

Upcoming Opportunities

Oklahoma 2018 State Questions and Elections: The November elections are just under a month away, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Wednesday, October 31st. To help voters in their election research, OK Policy has published fact sheets on each State Questions and gathered useful links and deadlines. Visit our #OKvotes page to find election information, important dates, voter tools, and much more. 

Weekly What’s That

Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, What’s That?

The Court of Civil Appeals is one of Oklahoma’s three appellate courts, along with the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals. An appellate court hears appeals from lower court decisions.

The Court of Civil Appeals is the court that hears the majority of appeals. The Supreme Court hands off the majority of civil appeals to the Court of Civil Appeals. The Court of Civil Appeals consists of 12 justices, divided amongst four panels. Two of these panels reside in Oklahoma City, the other two in Tulsa. Justice candidates are selected by the Judicial Nominating Commission and appointed by the Governor. Justices are up for a retention election every six years.

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

Quote of the Week

“If you’re one or the other, then you’re not adequate to be a Tulsa police officer. We want you to be both of those things. This isn’t policing in the ’80s.”

-Capt. Matt McCord, assistant director of training for the Tulsa Police Department, speaking about why TPD moved to training that includes empathy, cultural competency, and de-escalation as well as self-defense and catching suspects [Tulsa World]

Editorial of the Week

Expanding Medicaid makes good business sense for Oklahoma

As a business owner, if you found out you could leverage your resources and receive matching dollars at a rate of $9 for every dollar you invest, would you do it? What if it meant you could hire more people? What if that investment also reduced your costs in other areas? What if the benefit from that investment was actually more than a billion dollars each year? People often say government should be run like a business. But when it comes to choosing common-sense solutions, such as accepting federal funds to cover the uninsured, these solutions become mired in political philosophy, leaving practical business-like calculations out of the mix. [Patti Davis / NewsOK]

Numbers of the Day

  • 20% – Oklahoma 2017-2018 charter school student enrollment growth. Nationally, charter school enrollment grew by 5%
  • 74% – Share of children of young parents in Oklahoma living in low-income families. The US average is 69%
  • 15 – Number of craft beer breweries in Oklahoma in 2016, up from 4 in 2012
  • 19.2% – Projected increase in Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries jobs in Oklahoma from 2016 to 2026
  • 84.3% – Percentage of Oklahoma’s undergraduate students who attend a public college or university

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • November offers major test of Medicaid expansion’s support in red states. [Governing]
  • The states that could be derailed by an economic downturn. [Route Fifty]
  • Detailed new national maps show how neighborhoods shape children for life. [New York Times]
  • Buyer Beware: New cheaper insurance policies may have big coverage gaps. [NPR]
  • Unkept promises: State cuts to higher education threaten access and equity. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]


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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