The Weekly Wonk: Child care subsidy remains on thin ice; a win-win for wages; & 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

On the OK Policy Blog, Policy Analyst Carly Putnam explained how lifting the child care subsidy remains on thin ice, even with the enrollment freeze lifted. Putnam previously wrote that child care is getting less accessible for working parents. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt described a recent article by a venture capitalist calling for a higher minimum wage. The article, titled “Confronting the Parasite Economy,” is available here.

A guest post by Brian Ted Jones of the Kirkpatrick Foundation analyzed the precipitous decline in agricultural employment. The second post in a two-part series by OK Policy intern Kylie Thomas reviewed a new federal education law’s affect on testing and teachers. The first post is available here. Steve Lewis’s weekly blog post discussed privilege and oppression

OK Policy in the News

Writing for the Huffington Post, John Thompson quoted Blatt’s blog post on how poverty in Oklahoma is compared to a developing country. Oklahoma Observer editor Arnold Hamilton cited OK Policy in a Journal Record column arguing that the legislature needs more thinkers, rather than more think tanks. Policy Analyst and Oklahoma Assets Network coordinator DeVon Douglass spoke to the Tulsa World about a panel on police violence she organized and moderated. 

Weekly What’s That

Oklahoma Health Care Authority

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is a state government agency responsible for administering the state’s Medicaid program. OHCA’s mission is to “responsibly purchase state and federally-funded health care in the most efficient and comprehensive manner possible; to analyze and recommend strategies for optimizing the accessibility and quality of health care; and, to cultivate relationships to improve the health outcomes of Oklahomans.”

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

Quote of the Week

“The vast majority of the people in jail at any given time aren’t there because of what they did, they’re there because they’re too poor to bond out.”

– Tulsa County Assistant Public Defender Jill Webb. The public defenders’ office is starting a program to allow more of their clients charged with minor crimes to be released from jail for free while they await their next court date (Source).

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Board, The Oklahoman

The Legislature this year took a step to help those who have had assets seized unjustly by law enforcement, by approving a law saying judges may award them attorney fees. Is additional movement on this issue possible in 2017? There’s reason for skepticism, based on the vast difference of opinion between a leading law enforcement official and those who wish to see changes in the current system. That gulf only appears to be widening.

Numbers of the Day

  • 23 percent – Percentage of Oklahoma adults who say they avoid smiling due to the condition of their mouth and teeth
  • 39% – Percentage of Oklahomans who attended church weekly in 2014, 12th highest in the US
  • 111,000 – The number of Oklahoma adults who reported having serious thoughts of suicide (2013-2014)
  • $8.53 – The mean hourly wage for 17,590 fast food cooks working in Oklahoma in 2015. The occupation paid the lowest average wage in the state
  • 48,318 – Total number of English Language Learner students in Oklahoma in the 2013-2014 school year

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • The Devastating Process of Dying in America Without Insurance [The Nation]
  • The Tricky Trend That’s Blurring Budget Transparency [Governing]
  • Why Prisoners Deserve the Right to Vote [Politico]
  • Kitchen Table Politics: The Cost Of Caring For Kids [FiveThirtyEight]
  • A radical idea to compensate black homeowners harmed by racial bias [Washington Post]


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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