The Weekly Wonk: State Question fact sheets; flawed justice savings; a resurgence of democracy; & 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 released fact sheets on the five 2018 State Questions, complete with background information and supporting and opposing arguments. We also updated our OKVotes page with new resources and useful links.

On the OK Policy Blog, Ryan Gentzler pointed out that the official SQ 780 savings calculation rests on flawed assumptions. Phillip Rocco explained in a guest post why Medicaid work requirements are a dangerous experiment that will put the health of thousands of Oklahomans at risk. In his weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt noted that Oklahoma is seeing a resurgence of democracy and a political system that is working the way it should.

OK Policy in the News

The City-Sentinel wrote about our 10th Anniversary Gala honoring Sandy Garrett and Kris Steele with the Good Sense/Good Cents Award. The Stillwater News-Press wrote about TogetherOK’s upcoming Tax Code Listening Sessions in Stillwater, co-hosted with The Oklahoma Academy. NewsOK shared the announcement of OK Policy’s new hires to expand our work on education, criminal justice, and operations and development. 

Upcoming Opportunities

Tax Code Listening Sessions: The Oklahoma Academy and Together Oklahoma are teaming up to host a series of listening sessions on tax code around the state and will be making a stop in Stillwater on Tuesday. Together OK Stillwater Chapter Leader Connor Hess talks about what people can expect and why they should join the discussion. Click here to view the Facebook event page

Weekly What’s That

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), What’s That?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax credit that subsidizes work for low-income families. The EITC the nation’s largest cash or near cash assistance program after the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). In 2015, the EITC lifted about 6.5 million people out of poverty, including about 3.3 million children, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. In 2017, the maximum credit for families with one child was $3,400, while the maximum credit for families with three or more children was $6,318. Click here to read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“Oklahoma’s application defines success not as improved health for SoonerCare beneficiaries, but lower utilization of health care services. In other words, success means fewer people receiving health care.”

– Philip Rocco, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Marquette University, in a public comment opposing Oklahoma’s plan for Medicaid work requirements [Phillip Rocco / OKPolicy]

Editorial of the Week

Nearly 70 percent of those serving time in jails are awaiting trial and have not been convicted of a crime. Unable to afford bail, many people stay incarcerated for weeks, months, and sometimes years while their case moves forward. Spending time in jail before trial makes a person more likely to plead guilty. Until Oklahoma takes steps to provide evidence-based, individualized pretrial assessments that address biases in policing, we will continue to see disproportionate representation from people of color in our prisons and jails. Oklahomans have overcome many challenges in the past. We often talk about the “Oklahoma Standard,” but the way we lock up our most vulnerable citizens is a far cry from that. These are our daughters, sons, mothers, fathers and friends who are locked up unnecessarily because of an unfair system. [Nicole McAffe / NewsOK]

Numbers of the Day

  • 383% – The percentage increase of the average daily Tulsa County Jail population from 1970 to 2016 
  • 2,148 – The number of medical marijuana patient license applications received during the first week of enrollment with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority
  • 30% – Share of residents in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area with a preexisting condition in 2015
  • 40th – Oklahoma’s overall rank in Oxfam America’s listing of the best and worst states to work in America

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • When will the U.S. Finally act boldly on paid family leave? [Harvard Business Review]
  • In Arkansas, ‘digital redlining’ could leave thousands without health care. [City Lab]
  • The policy trifecta resilient communities are built on. [Route Fifty]
  • Where even Walmart won’t go: How Dollar General took over rural America. [Guardian]


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.