What’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
- FY 2022 Budget Highlights: The FY 2022 budget reverses service cuts but remains at among lowest level in decades. The budget reflects a dramatic, if short-term, turnaround from last year due to the economic uptick coming out of the pandemic as well as the unprecedented investment of federal relief funds. The FY 2022 budget also includes $346.9 million of annual tax cuts, or about 4 percent of the current budget, which will likely never be reclaimed due to the supermajority requirements of SQ 640. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]
- Ahniwake Rose / Journal Record] : Our public schools educated generations of Oklahomans without mentioning the destruction of Greenwood’s Black Wall Street. Our collective ignorance of this event was not an oversight. Oklahomans kept themselves – and their children – from facing uncomfortable facts. [
- Tulsa Race Massacre: After the national spotlight fades: The national spotlight will shine on our state in the coming days as we gather to commemorate the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre and its aftermath. Soon, however, this attention will fade and many long-standing issues will remain for Oklahomans to address. [OK Policy]
- Managed care isn’t a silver bullet: Improving Oklahoma’s health outcomes requires multi-faceted investments: Oklahoma has the tools at its disposal right now to begin prioritizing the health of our friends and neighbors. The answer, despite recent claims, is not outsourcing the administration of our Medicaid program, also known as SoonerCare. Rather, we must look at the factors that actually impact health and increase our investment in the mental, physical, and economic well-being of all Oklahomans. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]
- Lawmakers expand private school scholarship tax credits (Capitol Update): Public school advocates argue that state tax credits to pay for private school scholarships take money from public schools and hinder their education programs. They will surely feel they lost a round in this battle over public school funding. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]
- Connecting to Health Care: The Ins and Outs of Enrolling for Medicaid Expansion: Nearly 200,000 Oklahomans will be eligible for health care as the state expands Medicaid. This presentation is designed to help answer questions about who may be eligible for Medicaid coverage, how and when Oklahomans can apply, and how organizations can help connect community members to health care. Presented by the Cover OK Coalition and OK Policy. [YouTube]
OK Policy is currently hiring for three positions:
- Housing & Infrastructure Senior Policy Analyst (closes 6/7)
- Immigration Policy Analyst (closes 6/7)
- Criminal Justice Policy Analyst (closes 6/14)
Weekly What’s That
Sine die is a term for the adjournment of an assembly for an indefinite period, from the Latin “without day”. In March 1989, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 620, which provided that regular legislative sessions begin on the first Monday in February and adjourn sine die not later than 5:00 pm on the last Friday in May. Special sessions are also adjourned sine die but there is no set date for their adjournment.
Quote of the Week
“I am 107 years old and I have never seen justice. I pray that one day I will.”
-Viola Fletcher, a Tulsa Race Massacre survivor who testified before Congress earlier this month [Reuters]
Editorial of the Week
Tulsa has much to apologize for in the 1921 race massacre and what happened afterward
Again and again, we hear: I was not alive in 1921; my family had nothing to do with it; I am not responsible.
The moral statute of limitations has not lapsed, and the failure of too many to recognize the continuing pain — the failure even to offer a genuine apology in the name of the people of Tulsa to their fellow Tulsans — prevents true healing.
Until we have atoned for the sins of the race massacre, culpability continues and compounds.
How to expiate such awful acts is a question for the entire community.
It’s a process that should require a thorough, thoughtful and public examination of what led to the massacre, what happened there and what happened afterward. Truth and reconciliation are not a moment but a process, and one that ends only when the pain does.
For the state, it should begin with a new era of policy designed to address disproportionate burdens on the Black population in health care and criminal justice.
For the state and city, it could also include consideration of reparations, direct or indirect. This remains a controversial issue, but one that deserves a public debate.
For individuals, it should mean many things, including acts of charity, self-education and acknowledgement.
For all, it should start with an act of contrition … of apology.
For what happened … for what was done and not done … for what led to it and led from it … for the failure to empathize then and now… we are sorry.
Numbers of the Day
- 86 of 1,000 – In Oklahoma, 86 of 1,000 employees is likely affected by depression. Employees with untreated depression lose an average of 45 work days annually to absenteeism and presenteeism. [Source: Healthy Minds Initiative]
- 421:1 – Oklahoma’s average student-to-counselor ratio currently, compared to the recommended ratio of 250:1. [Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]
- 46th – Oklahoma’s ranking in state mental health agency per capita mental health services expenditures. [Source: Kaiser Family Foundation]
- 45th – Oklahoma’s overall ranking in prevalence of mental illness and access to care. An overall ranking of 39-51 indicates higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care. The overall ranking includes both adult and youth measures. [Source: Mental Health America, 2021]
- 11-year delay – There’s an average delay of 11 years between the onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment in Oklahoma. Integrated care is ideal for improving access to behavioral health care in our state. [Source: Healthy Minds Policy Initiative]
What We’re Reading
- Oklahoma’s Untapped Workforce: The economic case for addressing mental health [Healthy Minds Initiative]
- Amid progress on COVID-19, a mental health crisis looms [Facing South]
- The Pandemic’s Impact on Children’s Mental Health [Kaiser Family Foundation]
- An Era of Peril for Black Mental Health [U.S. News]
- Mental Health Issues Snapshot [Healthy Minds Initiative]
Note: May is national Mental Health Awareness Month.