Weekly Wonk June 1, 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.

The application deadline for the Summer Policy Institute has been extended to June 2! Oklahoma college students are invited to join us for an exciting four-day event featuring speakers and panels on a variety of Oklahoma public policy issues. Click here to apply.

In guest posts on the OK Policy blog, former intern Matt Simmons argued that the death penalty fails a cost-benefit analysis, and an OK Policy Research Fellow, Breanca Thomas, wrote about the e-cigarette debate in Oklahoma. We urged the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers the state Medicaid program, not to raise copayments on generic prescription medication. We’ve written previously about the devastating impacts of the state budget shortfall on the Medicaid budget.

A group of 50 Oklahoma musicians are releasing a single and accompanying video to raise awareness of Oklahoma’s dire health status and in support of the state accepting federal funds to extend health coverage to low-income Oklahomans. The release parties for “Stand (Let Your Voices Be Heard)” will be on June 4th and June 5th in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, respectively. You can read more here about why Oklahoma should extend coverage.

In his Journal Record column this week, Executive Director David Blatt discussed how lawmakers caved to empty threats when they voted to make permanent a tax break for horizontal drilling. We’ve written before about why the tax break should have ended. Blatt was also quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about the tax break.

Numbers of the Day

  • 25  – Total number of mental health records Oklahoma has submitted since 1993 to an FBI database for gun purchase background checks.
  • 2.53 inches – Precipitation in Oklahoma from Jan-Mar this year, compared to a 6.32 inches 30-year average. It has been the 6th driest year since 1895.
  • $291.7 million – Total amount of one-time reserve funds used to avoid even deeper cuts in Oklahoma’s FY 2015 budget.
  • $110 million – Amount of combined federal and state funds distributed for disaster recovery in the year following the May 2013 Oklahoma tornado outbreak.

Policy Notes

  • Jared Bernstein discusses why a higher minimum wage should be understood as a labor standard like laws against child labor, discrimination, overtime without extra pay, and wage theft
  • Simply being poor can make you sick, writes The Atlantic.
  • The Pitch reports on a new criminal investigation of an online payday lender that is owned by the Miami Nation of Oklahoma.
  • MetroTrends discusses why only about one in four Americans eligible for housing assistance actually receives it.


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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