The Weekly Wonk: New fact sheets on budget trends and SQ 788

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

OK Policy released two new fact sheets this week with updated information on Budget Trends and Outlook and SQ 788 on medical marijuana. Executive Director David Blatt walked us through what might happen now that the Step Up plan has failed in the legislature. Blatt’s Journal Record column told the story of Dreamers – young people whose DACA protection may soon disappear – trying to plan for a very uncertain future.

A guest post by Dr. Cynthia Rogers explained how the Capital Gaines Tax Deduction benefits a small number of (wealthy) Oklahomans at a significant cost to the entire state. Policy Analyst Courtney Cullison wrote about the difficulty of saving money for low-income working families – and the dangers they face as a result. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update discussed the politics of the race for next year’s House and Senate leaders.

OK Policy in the News

OK Policy data on the small savings that could be achieved through school consolidation was used by Wayne Green at the Tulsa World to for his piece arguing that consolidation is not the answer to Oklahoman’s school funding crisis. Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler was a panelist at Public Radio Tulsa’s Give & Take on Sentencing Reform.

Upcoming Opportunities

Join Kris Steele and state advocates for the launch of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’s statewide criminal justice reform initiative. A press conference will be held at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 7th at 2:00 pm to discuss their 2018 legislative priorities and long term policy agenda. For more information about OCJR or the launch event, click here.

Weekly What’s That

Striking Title

The Oklahoma Constitution requires that every bill contain a concise statement accurately expressing the bill’s subject at the beginning of the bill. If a legislator offers an amendment to “strike the title,” the amendment deletes this introductory definition and causes the bill or joint resolution to be out of compliance with the Oklahoma Constitution. That means the measure will have to be returned to that chamber and amended again before it can become law. Striking the title allows the bill to move forward in the legislative process while recognizing that it needs further changes before it gets final approval. Click here to read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“I’m in my second year. I’ve lost thirty-one teachers to surrounding states. That’s about ten percent, a little over ten percent of our teachers we’ve lost to surrounding states.”

– Miami Schools Superintendent Jeremy Hogan, speaking on the prospect of losing more teachers following the Governor’s signing of an appropriations bill that cuts two percent from state agencies and schools (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Shelley Cadamy, Tulsa World

The Trump administration recently announced it would allow states to impose work requirements on adults who get their health care through Medicaid. Work requirements can seem like a good idea on the surface — a handful of Oklahoma lawmakers have already filed legislation to put them in motion. However, work requirements for SoonerCare are too simplistic to address the very complicated problem of getting every able Oklahoman into the workforce…The people we see at Workforce Tulsa want desperately to work, but they often face hurdles that a work requirement will not solve. For many, this includes a lack of affordable child care and elder care — and what’s available is at risk of vanishing because the Legislature fails to fund basic services properly.

Numbers of the Day

  • 114,142 – Number of women enrolled in undergraduate colleges in Oklahoma, about 56 percent of all undergraduate students in the state (2016).
  • 91% – Percentage increase of drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma over the last decade and a half.
  • 16.8 minutes – Average wait time to vote in Oklahoma during the 2016 general election.
  • 10.3% – Share of births in Oklahoma that were preterm, 2015.
  • -17.8% – Drop in Oklahoma’s Q2 2017 tax collections compared to the state’s pre-recession peak, the third largest decrease in the nation.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • A prison system offered all inmates addiction treatment. Overdose deaths dropped sharply [STAT]
  • Behind the minimum wage fight, a sweeping failure to enforce the law [Politico]
  • Implementing States’ Medicaid Wishes Won’t Be Cheap [Governing]
  • How Dental Inequality Hurts Americans [The New York Times]
  • When ‘Reform’ Means a Process of Elimination [The New York Times]


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

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