Weekly Wonk May 11, 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 Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week, a new infographic and video from Together Oklahoma showed why Oklahoma needs to reign in the tax break for horizontal drilling. On the OK Policy blog, we explained the whys, whens and hows of a possible revenue failure if  April revenue collections come in below projections. 

A guest post argued in favor of state funding for education, noting that a better-educated community benefits all. A new post in our Neglected Oklahoma series described how payday lending left a single mother buried in debt. David Ocamb of the Sierra Club and Whitney Pearson of Beyond Coal explained why Oklahoma’s new generalized distribution tariff will not necessarily increase charges on households with their own solar panels or wind turbines.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt suggested that Oklahoma is failing to pay its teachers in a way that indicates respect and appreciation for their work.

We are still accepting applications to our second annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI), a three-day crash course on Oklahoma’s policy landscape, featuring speakers and panels on a wide range of state policy issues for college students. Applications will be accepted through Friday, May 30th. Click here to apply.

 Numbers of the Day

  • 14th – The Tulsa metro area’s 2014 ranking for the worst ozone pollution in major U.S. cities. The OKC metro had the 19th worst pollution.
  • 183  – Number of earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or greater in Oklahoma from Oct 2013 through Apr 14, 2014. From 1978-2008, Oklahoma averaged two 3.0 earthquakes per year.
  • $1.08 billion – Oklahoma’s unemployment trust fund balance, the 4th highest in the US.
  • 48  – Total square miles burned by three currently-burning Oklahoma wildfires
  • 20.38  – Gun deaths per 100,000 African-Americans in Oklahoma in 2011, compared to 2.26 per 100,000 whites

Policy Notes

  • The Center for American Progress released a report examining the disparities in demographics of the teacher workforce and an increasingly diverse student population. 
  • The New York Times reported that mortality fell in Massachusetts following its adoption of mandatory health insurance coverage in 2006. 
  • Al Jazeera America discussed the nationwide drive by lobbying groups to ban mandated paid sick days
  • The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examined how higher education cuts and subsequent tuition increases have made it harder for students from low-income families to get a college degree.
  • Off the Charts showed how housing vouchers, which pay for housing for low-income families in the private market, have been good for mothers.


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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