The Weekly Wonk June 22, 2014


The 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 called on you to help stop harmful changes to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. As we’ve previously written, proposed copayment hikes would damage Medicaid recipients’ health without saving money for the state. We wrote that lawmakers haven’t done enough to end the crisis in Oklahoma’s prisons. You can read our suggested reforms for the state criminal justice system here.

The state legislature made unsustainable, irresponsible choices when building the FY 2015 budget. Our evaluation of the budget can be found here. OK Policy staffer Kate Richey participated in a panel entitled “Expanding Opportunity in Oklahoma: Earned Success and the Paths to Prosperity” in Oklahoma City last week. You can watch the panel discussion here, and read more about building equity in Oklahoma here.

The Tulsa World quoted Policy Director in a discussion of the debate surrounding wind energy in Oklahoma. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt wrote that the legislature acted inappropriately when they raided the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship trust fund to balance the state budget.

In our Editorial of the Week, The Oklahoman agreed with Blatt, arguing that lawmakers were risking one of the best things they’d ever made for young Oklahomans. The maneuver was deemed illegal by the state Attorney General’s office on Thursday.

Quote of the Week

“I’ve had parents, and even some of the children tell me, ‘There is no childhood here.’ There’s not any calculated attempt to game the system. There’s just one last attempt to survive, and try to have some quality of life.”

– Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright scholar who is researching the causes of child migration in Central America. Currently nearly 600 children who were detained crossing the border are being held at Fort Sill (Source:

Numbers of the Week

  • $957 million – Amount spent on food purchases from Oklahoma grocers by the 889,137 Oklahomans receiving SNAP benefits in FY 2013.
  • 102.4 million – Total number of volunteer service hours performed by Oklahomans in 2012.
  • $14.77 – Median hourly wage for Oklahoma workers in 2013.
  • $202 – Average monthly tax credit for Oklahomans who purchased insurance on The tax credits reduced average monthly premiums to $75.
  • 45th – Oklahoma’s rank in the AARP’s state scorecard on long-term services and supports for older adults, people with physical disabilities, and family caregivers.

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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