The Weekly Wonk November 30, 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 KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know. Because In The Know has taken short breaks over the last two weeks for a conference and Thanksgiving, this edition of The Weekly Wonk includes material from both weeks.

OK Policy released our updated CountySTATS 2014, with county-by-county data on a wide variety of indicators. The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board discussed some of the more interesting numbers they uncovered in CountySTATS 2014. In his Capitol Updates, Steve Lewis discussed why agency directors shouldn’t expect new funding this year, despite growing need, and argued that if Oklahoma wants to increase education funding, it will need to do more than simply rearrange the funds it already has.

A new blog post explained how state leadership’s efforts to block the Affordable Care Act means the state is missing out on the flexibility the federal government is offering states in expanding health coverage. We examined the implications of a ruling from the state Attorney General finding that the legislature acted unconstitutionally appropriated from the Trauma Care Assistance Fund in an effort to balance the state budget. We’ve written about the legislature’s habit of inappropriate appropriations before, and the shortfalls they create.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt discussed a recent presentation given by Dr. Larry Jacobs on the future of the Affordable Care Act and concluded that while the road to full implementation might be bumpy, it’s not a dead end. The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board came to a somewhat different conclusion. Policy Director Gene Perry spoke to The Oklahoman about the possibilities for criminal justice reform in 2015, and The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board praised OK Policy’s support for a renewed effort from the Governor’s office in implementing the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. In our Editorial of the Week, Blatt made recommendations for Gov. Fallin’s second term in office.

Quote of the week:

“Until our state leaders take that same emphasis on thinking more about tomorrow than today, our state and its people will never reach its full potential.”

– University of Central Oklahoma College of Business Dean Mickey Hepner, speaking at an Oklahoma City Chamber luncheon. Hepner said Oklahoma’s growth is threatened by lawmakers who put shortsighted gains ahead of investing in infrastructure and education (Source:

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Numbers of the Day:

  • 24% – Percent of LGBT students in Oklahoma who reported being physically assaulted in the last year due to their sexual orientation, the 3rd highest percentage in the US.
  • $4.070 billion – Total value of all goods traded between Oklahoma City and Tulsa in 2010. Both cities were each other’s second largest trading partner among major cities, with Dallas, TX as the largest trading partner.
  • $151,080 – Median annual wage of a petroleum engineer in Oklahoma in 2013.
  • 9% – Percentage of calls to Oklahoma’s child abuse and neglect hotline in 2013 that were reporting abuse and/or neglect of an adult.
  • 218 – Number of commercial banks in Oklahoma. This number has fallen steadily since 1985, when the state had 538 commercial banks.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

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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