The Weekly Wonk February 8, 2015

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, we shared four takeaways from Gov. Fallin’s proposed budget and priorities for Oklahoma lawmakers in 2015. You can read our statement on the Governor’s budget here. Steve Lewis warned that by tapping revolving funds to cover the deficit, lawmakers are robbing the future to pay for the present. Executive Director David Blatt wrote in his Journal Record column that while Gov. Fallin’s State of the State speech showed clear need to resolve obstacles to progress for the state, her budget showed why it’s going to be difficult to move forward.

OK Policy Research Fellow Brandon Crawford explained why too many foster youth enter adulthood without a safety net. With the release of new state health rankings, we examined the causes and effects of Oklahoma’s march to the back of the pack. We’ve released new tools to help you navigate the legislative session: our updated 2015 Legislative Primer, and “What’s That?“, a glossary of key terms to help clarify Oklahoma politics and government.

This week on the OK PolicyCast, we interviewed Affordable Care Act Navigator Donna Orban on what’s being done to enroll Oklahomans in health coverage before the open enrollment period ends on February 15th, and Blatt on his takeaways from the Governor’s budget. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

The Tulsa World’s Wayne Green cited Blatt in a discussion of the budget-building process, and shared video of Blatt speaking about the budget. Panel members at our 2015 State Budget Summit said it’s unlikely lawmakers will reexamine business tax incentives. Blatt’s presentation from the Summit is available here.

Quote of the Week:

“This is not about the department failing. This is a result of a lack of funding for services. Obviously, we understand the gravity of the situation and the court’s frustration because we share that frustration.”

– A spokesman for the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, speaking after a district judge threatened to jail department commissioner Terry White because an inmate was not moved to a mental health facility until 6 months after the judge ordered he be transferred there. ODMHSAS said the move did not happen until this week because the facility had no available space. (Source:

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Editorial of the Week:

Dr. Gerry Clancy, The Tulsa World

To our surprise, we learned that the father had been completely treated without cost to the family and had returned to full time employment. A life had been saved, a family had been saved, and the man is now working and paying taxes. This is a heartwarming story of Oklahomans taking care of Oklahomans but there is also a tragic undertone. How many hardworking Oklahomans without health care coverage are not lucky enough to run into my daughter who would simply not settle for denial of care for this individual?

Numbers of the Day:

  • $5,532 – Health care expenditures per capita in Oklahoma in 2011, nearly 5 percent below the US average that year ($5,815)
  • 2.02 years – Average length of stay for an incarcerated woman in Oklahoma released in 2013
  • 3rd – Oklahoma’s ranking among all 50 states for the total number of embezzlement cases tied to gambling
  • 67.9% – Share of Oklahoma’s income growth since 1979 that went to the wealthiest 1 percent of households
  • 24% – Percent of Oklahomans with a Bachelor’s degree or higher

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What we’re Reading:

  • The U.S. needs fairer hiring practices for those with criminal records to put the country on the path to full employment. (The Washington Post)
  • Get an up-close-and-personal view of family detention in a for-profit lock-up in South Texas. (The Texas Observer)
  • Some states are going beyond federal law to protect pregnant workers who want to stay on the job. (The Pew Charitable Trusts)
  • Conservatives should get behind President Obama’s push for universal Pre-K. (The Washington Post)
  • While the economic consequences of mandating paid sick leave shouldn’t be ignored, experience shows the cost is not very high. (Bloomberg View)


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.