The Weekly Wonk: Budget highlights, highs and lows, bad brew, & 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, Executive Director David Blatt and Policy Director Gene Perry released our FY 2017 Budget Highlights, one of the most informative and accessible ways to track Oklahoma’s public spending. Blatt also compiled OK Policy’s highs and lows of Oklahoma’s 2016 legislative session. His Journal Record column detailed how lawmakers came close to making substantive criminal justice reforms, but undid some of that progress in the final days of the legislative session.

In her second guest blog post, Erin Taylor described how the budget fails thousands of Oklahoma families. Policy Analyst and Oklahoma Assets Network coordinate DeVon Douglass wrote that a recent housing study highlights the need for affordable housing in Oklahoma. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update wondered if dissatisfaction with the legislature will translate to change in upcoming elections

OK Policy in the News

This week, the local education blog Blue Cereal Education included several OK Policy links in a news round-up. NonDoc cited OK Policy in a discussion of the legislative session. NewsOK’s Scissortails blog mentioned OK Policy research on term limits. The blog post they referenced is available here.

Weekly What’s That

Emergency clause

The emergency clause is a provision included as part of a bill in the Oklahoma Legislature that allows it to become effective immediately upon the signature of the Governor or at a specified date. Emergency clauses require two-thirds approval by both houses and are voted on separately and subsequently to the vote in favor or against a measure. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“Right now, I don’t know if there is anything I would do differently. I’m all about transparency, and I’m all about getting input, so even though nothing comes to mind now, I’m open to suggestions.”

– House Appropriations and Budget Chairman Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, speaking about state budget negotiations that were closed to the public, the news media, and Democratic lawmakers until the final week of session (Source).

Editorial of the Week

Teresa Meinders Burkett, The Tulsa World

Oklahoma cannot adequately fund education, the largest consumer of our state budget, or any other core services, without additional revenues. We have demonstrated that we cannot cut our way to prosperity, or even livability. When people say they want schools and teachers to be funded, they need to realize that a revenue increase is needed to do that, and that means an increase in taxes.

Numbers of the Day

  • 897.5 – Death rate per 100,000 people in Oklahoma in 2014, fifth highest in the US
  • 61.4% – Percentage of Oklahoma smokers who attempted to quit smoking in the past 12 months (2014)
  • 6,710 – Number of lawyers working in Oklahoma as of May 2015
  • -66.2% – Decrease in state funding for OETA since FY 2009
  • 12% – Percentage of Oklahoma adults who have been told by a doctor that they have diabetes

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

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.

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