The Weekly Wonk: Behind smoky doors, a kick in the pants, & 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 on the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt wrote that lawmakers’ habit of unveiling bills in the last days of the legislative session breeds public distrust. Blatt’s Journal Record column argued that legislators ducked the hard choices the shortfall required. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis suggested that the state’s budget problems won’t be solved until both parties find a way to work together.

OK Policy Legislative Liaison Damario Solomon-Simmons pointed out that 95 years after the Greenwood massacre, survivors are still waiting for justice. Research Fellow John Lepine explained how an Education Savings Account measure introduced this year would have widened inequality.

OK Policy in the News

Policy Analyst and Oklahoma Assets Network coordinator DeVon Douglass was interviewed by NPR’s Marketplace about TANF in Oklahoma. Slate has a write-up of the segment here. The Tax Justice Blog wrote that Oklahoma lawmakers failed to raise to the challenge during the legislative session. The Tulsa World included a quote from Blatt in a discussion of the end of session. The Tahlequah Daily Press included a statement from OK Policy in a discussion of the failed effort to raise the cigarette tax.

Weekly What’s That

Sine Die

Sine die is a term for the adjournment of an assembly for an indefinite period, from the Latin “without day”. In March 1989, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 620, which provided that regular legislative sessions begin on the first Monday in February and adjourn sine die not later than 5:00 pm on the last Friday in May. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“When you’re talking about attracting employers and skilled talent, these things matter.”

– Brian Paschal, senior vice president for education and workforce at the Tulsa Regional Chamber, on findings that the last two weeks of the state legislative session earned the state $50.9 million in negative publicity (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Wayne Greene, The Tulsa World

What’s the best part of hitting yourself in the head with a hammer? Stopping. The Oklahoma Legislature wasn’t able to figure that one out this year.

Numbers of the Day

  • 214.9 – Medical doctors per 100,000 Oklahomans. The national average is 286.5
  • 29,000 – Number of hourly workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage in Oklahoma in 2015
  • 562 per 100,000 – Rate of jail incarceration for women in Okmulgee County, the highest in the state. The state average is 149 per 100,000
  • 15,000 – Number of accountants and auditors working in Oklahoma as of May 2015

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • New Study on Drug Use Confirms What Black People Have Been Saying This Whole Time [Yahoo News]
  • The Rehabilitation Paradox [The New Yorker]
  • A staggering number of people with factory jobs still need government help [Washington Post]
  • Labels Like “Felon” Are An Unfair Life Sentence [The New York Times]


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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