The Weekly Wonk: Top 10 ways Oklahoma can become a Top 10 state (and how to measure it)

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

On Monday, Gov. Stitt delivered his State of the State address where he provided his vision for how Oklahoma can move forward. But what has been lacking from the public dialogue are the metrics as to how we really determine if we are moving towards Top 10 status. In response, we issued a statement listing a few ways that the state can make progress on the issues that impact Oklahomans the most. We’re calling it “The Top 10 ways Oklahoma can become a Top 10 state (and how you measure it).” You can share it on Facebook here and Twitter here.

In her weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director Ahniwake Rose emphasized that straightforward Medicaid expansion – the basis for State Question 802 – is the only tried and tested way to help Oklahomans who otherwise cannot afford to see a doctor or fill a prescription. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update noted that mental health services could be impacted by Gov. Stitt’s block grant plan and the resignation of Terri White as Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

OK Policy in the News

The Norman Transcript cited OK Policy on the health and economic benefits of providing paid family and medical leave for Oklahoma workers. NonDoc cited OK Policy regarding Oklahoma’s state budget for Fiscal Year 2020. Open Justice Oklahoma Director Ryan Gentzler and Criminal Justice Policy Analyst Damion Shade spoke to The Frontier for a story highlighting the lack of resources in jails for mental health and substance use disorder treatment

The Ardmoreite published a story about the community conversation on state policies for working Oklahomans we are hosting with Together Oklahoma.

Upcoming Opportunities

Support Working Oklahomans: A Community Conversation. Together Oklahoma and OK Policy will host two community discussions about state policies that can benefit working Oklahomans. 

Weekly What’s That

Committee bill, what’s that?

A committee bill is a legislative procedure initiated by the Senate in 2015 that allows Senate bills to be introduced after the regular legislative deadlines.

Under Senate Rule 6-23, the author of a bill filed after the deadline may ask the chair of the committee to which the bill has been assigned by the Majority Floor Leader to hear the bill as a measure authored by the committee. Upon majority vote of the committee, the authorship of the measure is transferred to the committee from the individual Senator and the deadlines established under Senate rules are not applicable. Committee bills are also exempt from the requirements that no bill can be heard on General Order and passed on Third Reading without a House author.

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

Quote of the Week

“Justice is best served when we can begin making something that was broken, whole. Justice is best served stopping a crime before it starts. Justice is best served when people feel they can seek help without fear of being punished themselves. And while in some cases justice is best served behind bars, sentences should be chosen based on data and best practices to ensure we’re not causing deeper harm.”

-Jacqueline Blocker, Community Engagement Director at Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform [CNHI]

Editorial of the Week

Red tape Stitt should be careful walking regulatory tightrope

Conservatism usually involves support for free market capitalism, but total deregulation is not without pitfalls. You only need to look at the 2008 economic collapse and listen to Alan Greenspan when he admitted that trusting markets to regulate themselves without any inkling of oversight was “a mistake.”

We admire the spirit of making state government less cumbersome to help grow Oklahoma’s economy.

That said, we shouldn’t sacrifice our public safety or environment for expediency.

[Enid News & Eagle]

Numbers of the Day

  • 46% – Percent of African American children in Oklahoma living in households with a high cost burden compared to 20 percent of White children.
  • 2,090,107 – The number of Oklahomans who were registered to vote as of Jan. 15, 2020.
  • 2 in 3 – The number of Oklahomans who are not accessing needed mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
  • 13,935 – Total number of Black-owned businesses in Oklahoma in 2012.
  • 600,000 – he approximate number of Oklahomans reporting mental illness.

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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