The Weekly Wonk: Key takeaways from the Board of Equalization; the solution we need on criminal justice; and 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

This week, Executive Director David Blatt shared takeaways from the February Board of Equalization meeting on the blog and in a Facebook Live video. In his Journal Record column, Blatt argued that Legislative promises to curb tax breaks for wind production to balance the budget are unwilling to confront the tax break that’s most responsible for our budget troubles. Blatt also explained why a bill before the Legislature could clarify how various taxes affect different parts of the population. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update discussed the politics of raising revenues, and Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler wrote that criminal justice reforms presented by the Justice Reform Tax Force could be the solution the state needs.

In a guest post, Sabine Brown described how her husband, a doctor, was virtually uninsurable prior to the Affordable Care Act because he’d had cancer as a child. On the Together OK blog, Kara Joy McKee explained how you can get involved. We shared our Oklahoma Advocacy Toolkit, including our Advocacy Alerts page, our Bill Tracker, Policy Priorities, and more. 

OK Policy in the News

This week, Rep. Perryman (D-Chickasha) cited OK Policy data in an op-ed arguing for rolling back income tax cuts. The Editorial Board of the Pryor Daily Times used OK Policy data writing in favor of criminal justice reform legislation. NewsOK used OK Policy data in a piece on oil and gas production taxation and regulation. NonDoc quoted Blatt in a roundup of predatory lending legislation. KTUL used OK Policy data discussing the effect of lottery funds on education funding. Our blog post about why the lottery didn’t fix education funding before is available here. The Enid News & Eagle cited OK Policy data when sharing the effect budget cuts on local schools

Weekly What’s That

Motion to reconsider

A motion to reconsider is a procedural action in the Oklahoma Legislature that allows a member the option to bring a bill or resolution back for another vote. A member must serve notice of a motion to reconsider immediately following a vote in the House or Senate before any other business is disposed of. The motion must be made within the succeeding three legislative days, or else the motion expires. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“[Downing’s] bill is written in a way that causes a large geographic portion of the state to be a felony drug possession zone that turns addicts into felony prisoners instead of patients – exactly the opposite of what voters wanted.”

-Former House Speaker Kris Steele, criticizing a bill, HB 1482, which would make drug possession a felony if committed within 1,000 feet of a school, park, day care, or church, or in the presence of a child. This would make drug possession a felony over a large majority of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, as well as large portions of other Oklahoma cities and towns. Voters approved SQ 780 in 2016, making drug possession a misdemeanor rather than a felony when the law takes effect in July (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Board, The Oklahoman

What the Legislature has long needed is more men and women willing to entertain new ideas instead of simply shouting ‘No!’ and moving on. This is especially true when times are tough, as they have been in recent years.

Numbers of the Day

  • 13.9% – Percentage of Oklahoma adults who reported either binge drinking or chronic drinking of alcohol, the 7th lowest rate in the US.
  • $1.9 billion – Projected cost of building and operating the three new prisons in the next ten years that would be required under Oklahoma’s current criminal justice policies.
  • $5.02 – Money recovered for every $1 spent by DHS’s Child Support Services in 2016.
  • $9,370 – Per pupil revenues for rural school districts in Oklahoma (FY 2014), which was 4.6% more than $8,633 per pupil going to urban school districts.
  • 30% – Percentage added to past due court costs as a fee for private collections agencies in Oklahoma.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • The Number Of Hungry And Homeless Students Rises Along With College Costs [NPR]
  • New Jersey Alters Its Bail System and Upends Legal Landscape [New York Times]
  • Entrepreneurs: Health law changes may mean finding new jobs [Associated Press]
  • The Racial Wealth Gap Is a Policy Problem, Not a Behavior Problem [Next City]
  • Big Companies Don’t Pay as Well as They Used To [Harvard Business Review]


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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