The Weekly Wonk: The 2017 Legislative Primer, long-acting reversible contraceptives, and more

the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’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 our updated 2017 Legislative Primer, which providers information about the upcoming Legislative session in a concise, user-friendly format. We also recently updated our State Budget Guide. Policy Analyst Carly Putnam evaluated a local initiative providing education and access to highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptives and found that it had decreased Tulsa County’s teen birth rate. Executive Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column made the cast against confirming fast food czar Andy Puzder to be Secretary of Labor. 

OK Policy in the News

In its coverage of our 2017 State Budget Summit, KWGS shared highlights of Blatt’s discussion of Oklahoma’s budget crisis and Putnam’s presentation on the threats posed by turning federal entitlement programs into block grants. OETA covered the State Budget Summit as part of a segment on the state’s budget crisis. The Editorial Board of the Enid News & Eagle quoted Blatt in their remembrances of Oklahoma journalist Frosty Troy

Weekly What’s That

Title I

Title I is a section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that provides federal funds to local school districts and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families. Title I is meant to ensure that all children receive a high-quality education and reach proficiency on State academic achievement standards assessments. Read more

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

Quote of the Week

“Even if our economy does recover, it’s going to be very anemic for several years, as the oil and gas industry recovers from this latest catastrophe. We cannot afford a tax cut. We just realize we don’t have the money to pay for core, essential services.”

-State Senator Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, on the need to ensure that another income tax cut doesn’t go into effect (Source)

Editorial of the Week


Editorial Board, The Oklahoman

After the first working meeting of the [criminal justice] task force, in August, Gov. Mary Fallin said she was confident the group would “generate reforms that will improve public safety …” In December, she said, correctly, that the state can do better than lock up low-level offenders for long stretches. Yet now, two weeks before the 2017 session begins, the task force report sits idle.

We encourage the governor to release it and then ask lawmakers to find recommendations they can embrace. The perfect shouldn’t get in the way of the good on this issue, because Oklahoma’s current practices are clearly unsustainable. Change needs to happen.

Numbers of the Day

  • 2,148 – Number of bills and resolutions filed for the 2017 session of the Oklahoma Legislature
  • 64 minutes – Average time Oklahoma emergency room patients waited after being admitted to be taken to their room, 6th lowest in the US
  • 22.2% – Percent of Oklahomans who smoke tobacco, 2016
  • 1,197,000 – Oklahomans with lifetime limits on their health benefits prior to the Affordable Care Act, which eliminated such limits (2008-2010)
  • 1:421 – Average school counselor to student ratio in Oklahoma, 2013

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Punished twice: Prisons basically ignore the Americans With Disabilities Act, leaving a third of inmates facing abuse and neglect [Vice News]
  • Budget cuts are taking the heaviest toll on colleges that serve the neediest students [Hechinger Report]
  • Obamacare repeal jeopardizes mental health, addiction coverage [USA Today]
  • What Is Driving The ‘Unbanking Of America’? [Fresh Air]
  • How Clearing Criminal Records Puts People to Work [CityLab]


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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