The Weekly Wonk December 7, 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.

On the OK Policy Blog this week, we discussed a new initiative that would require Oklahoma students to pass a civics test in order to graduate high school. For World AIDS Day, we shared a Q&A with Kathy Williams, the executive director a Tulsa-based HIV/AIDS testing and educational organization.

In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis said that the legislature may be willing to tackle criminal justice reform – but pointed out that the real test will come when the reformers are accused of being “soft on crime.” Staffer and Oklahoma Assets Network coordinator Kate Richey presented her research “Closing the Opportunity Gap: Building Equity in Oklahoma” at the Alliance for Economic Inclusion for Northeastern Oklahoma‘s quarterly meeting.

Rickey discussed Oklahoma’s racial wealth gap on this week’s PolicyCast. The podcast also features the week’s headlines. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

Writing in his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt argued that the Oklahoma Hospital Association has a viable plan to expand health coverage in the state, and that we only need political will from the Governor to move forward. In our Editorial of the Week, The Oklahoman noted that uncontested legislative races are becoming routine in Oklahoma. We’ve discussed Oklahoma’s broken democracy before.

Quote of the week:

“Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and a handful of other Republican senators authored legislation to replace Obamacare with the Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility and Empowerment Act. This legislation retains important features of Obamacare while shifting millions of Medicaid enrollees into private health plans funded by a public subsidy, a plan that bears similarities to our successful Insure Oklahoma. Obamacare exchanges are introducing competition to the marketplace, offering consumers more choices while helping contain rate increases. The fact that Coburn retained so much of Obamacare in his reform recognizes there are a lot of positives in this law, however controversial it may be.”

– Former state senator and Oklahoma Secretary of Health Tom Adelson (Source:

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Numbers of the day:

  • 28 – Number of Oklahomans exonerated after being falsely convicted between 1989 and 2014. Oklahoma ranks 16th in the US for exonerations over that period.
  • 10,233 – Number of children in the custody of the state of Oklahoma at the end of FY 2013.
  • 62.60% – Percentage of consumers with subprime credit in Oklahoma. The US average is 56.3%.
  • $79,285,938 – The amount spent by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections on private prisons in 2013.
  • 38.1 – Average age of an incarcerated person in Oklahoma.

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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