The Weekly Wonk: Civil asset forfeiture, uninsured rates, and more…

the_weekly_wonkWhat’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 on the OK Policy Blog, we reviewed new data that shows that Oklahoma is giving up by refusing to expand health coverage for low-income Oklahomans. An upcoming Policy & Practice lecture featuring former OK Policy Research Fellow Brandon Crawford will discuss the futures of children in Oklahoma’s foster system. Crawford previously wrote about the risks that come with aging out of foster care on the OK Policy Blog.

Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update discussed the controversy surrounding civil asset forfeiture. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt described lessons learned from his mother, who passed away last month after a brief illness.

Introducing FallPol

You’re invited to join us for our first-ever OK Policy Fall Policy Institute (FallPol) on Saturday, October 3rd, at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond! Designed for emerging professionals, advocates, educators, volunteers and more, this one-day training will deliver a solid overview of significant policy issues in Oklahoma. Click here to learn more.

Weekly What’s That

Supplemental appropriation

A supplemental appropriation is funding approved by the Legislature in the middle of a fiscal year, in addition to funds already provided in that year’s initial state budget. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“It’s a shame that in a sense a Colombian drug cartel has become a more reliable revenue source for Oklahoma law enforcement than our state Legislature.”

– Brady Henderson, legal affairs director for the ACLU, on recent controversy surrounding civil asset forfeiture. Brady says some law enforcement departments are reluctant to end the practice because they rely on seized money and goods for funding. (Source)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week

Arnold Hamilton, The Journal Record

Glossip’s death sentence helps explain why momentum is building nationally to end capital punishment – 19 states and the District of Columbia now ban it.

First, study after study shows it isn’t a deterrent – most murders are spur-of-the-moment, not planned.

Second, our criminal justice system is hardly foolproof: The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty reports 150 death row inmates have been exonerated nationally, including 10 in Oklahoma. The Innocence Project reports 330 DNA exonerations in the last 23 years – 18 from death row.

Finally, it’s not uniformly applied – you think New York real estate scion Robert Durst, whose wealth clearly shielded him in at least three murder cases, would ever be sentenced to death?

Numbers of the Day

  • 5.40% – Percentage of high-cost mortgage loans (home purchase loans with a significantly higher-than-average APR) in Oklahoma in 2013. The nationwide average was 3.35%.
  • 12 – Retail prescription drugs filled at pharmacies in Oklahoma per capita in 2014.
  • $9.90 – Price received per bushel of soybeans in Oklahoma in 2014, down from $14.40 in 2012.
  • 58.9% – Percentage of Oklahoma adults who visited a dentist or dental clinic in 2012, the 7th-lowest nationwide.
  • 18,000 – Approximate number of foreign-born children in Oklahoma, 2% of all children in the state.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Even though tuition is almost completely free here, Norwegians whose parents did not go to college are just as unlikely to go themselves as Americans whose parents did not go to college [The Hechinger Report].
  • My name is Christine, and I get food stamps [Vox].
  • We’re making life too hard for Millennials [The New York Times].
  • The national conversation on mass incarceration is light on details about what it will take to achieve meaningful and sustainable reductions [Urban Institute].
  • Obamacare is for Native Americans, too [NPR].


Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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