The Weekly Wonk August 24, 2014

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week on the OK Policy Blog, we examined the data and concluded that the popular assumption that Medicaid recipients make unnecessary trips to the ER is more based on myth and anecdote than fact. Now that the political dust has settled, we explored the impact of the third grade reading law on schools. In light of recent conversations on immigration, we took another look at the novel Kind of Kin, which explores the impact of immigration politics on a small Oklahoma town.

We are currently accepting applications for our fall internship and for our 2014-2015 research fellowship! Students working with OK Policy have a wide range of opportunities to conduct research, write blog posts, and contribute to OK Policy projects and events. We invite all interested candidates to apply by Friday, August 29. Find out more here.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt looks at long-withheld emails and wonders why the Governor’s office devoted so much attention to a perceived slight from OCPA and so little to the situation of 150,000 Oklahomans left without options for health insurance. In our Editorial of the Week, M. Scott Carter argues that lawmakers have instituted too many tax incentives without building in mechanisms to measure their impact.

Quote of the week:

“I wouldn’t label this an Obamacare grant. I think that classification is confusing to people and, in a sense, inaccurate.”

– Alex Weintz, Governor Fallin’s Communications Director, referring to a $3 million grant that the state applied for under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) (Source:

Numbers of the day:

  • $23,330 – Average mortgage debt in Oklahoma in 2013.
  • 4.6% – Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in July, up slightly from June’s unemployment rate (4.5%).
  • 34.4 million – Acres of farmland in Oklahoma, comprising 77% of all land in the state.
  • 3428,689 – Total number of motor vehicles registered in Oklahoma in 2011.
  • $111.23 – The value of goods and services that can be purchased for $100 in Oklahoma, compared to the national average.

What we’re reading:


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.

Leave a Reply

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