The Weekly Wonk: OK Policy’s 2018 Legislative Policy Priorities

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

We released our 2018 Policy Priorities this week!  Click here to read all about the issues we’ll be focusing on this legislative session. Executive Director David Blatt broke down the budget plan recently proposed by the Step Up Coalition. Blatt’s Journal Record column focused on the larger-than-usual number of women running for public office this season. 

Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update argued that Oklahoman’s are no longer willing to pay what it costs to incarcerate so many. Policy Analyst Courtney Cullison warned us that new protections for payday borrowers now appear to be under attack – by the agency that made the rules. 

OK Policy in the News

We held our 5th Annual State Budget Summit this week, and Public Radio Tulsa was there to cover it – according to Blatt, Oklahoma’s budget outlook is slowly improving. Public Radio Tulsa also reported on OK Policy’s analysis of felony case filing data, which indicates that felony filings for drug possession are down since the implementation of SQ 780. The Christian Science Monitor pointed out a new challenge that has resulted from these changes – without a felony threat, it may be more difficult encourage offenders to enter drug treatment.

Weekly What’s That

Ad Valorem Manufacturing Exemption

In 1985, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 588 by a 69.7 percent majority. This created the ad valorem manufacturing exemption. Under Article X, Section 6B of the Oklahoma Constitution, all real and personal property that is necessary for the manufacturing of a product and facilities engaged in research and development, which meet certain requirements, receive a five-year exemption from ad valorem (property) taxes. Since 1985, the range of entities eligible for the exemption has been expanded. Click here to read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“As our state continues suffering the effects of an unprecedented teacher shortage, Oklahoma cannot afford to ignore the results of this survey. Pay is no cure-all to staving off this shortage, but without regionally competitive compensation, we are trying to win a home run contest with one arm held behind our back.”

– State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, commenting on a survey that showed that 48 percent of former teachers chose low pay as the most important factor in quitting the profession (Source)

Editorial of the Week

David Boren, The Oklahoman

Those who care about Oklahoma have good reason to be deeply worried about the future of our state. With the state ranking at or near the bottom in education, health care and quality-of-life factors, Oklahoma is not a magnet for newcomers. No major business would want to come to a place with four-day school weeks, teacher shortages and funding levels that threaten critical institutions like colleges and universities. Rather, states that invest in themselves are favorable to economic development.

Numbers of the Day

  • 1048 – Number of juveniles arrested for possession of marijuana in Oklahoma in 2016, approximately 8.7% of all juvenile arrests in Oklahoma.
  • 54 – Number of domestic abuse-related murders in Oklahoma in 2016, 22.6% of all murders in the state that year
  • 87,000 – Approximate number of Oklahoma children who speak a language other than English at home, 12% of all children in 2016
  • 899 – Number of drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma in 2016, a 68% increase from 2007
  • 5639 – Number of approved foster care beds in Oklahoma in FY 2017, up from 2,310 in FY 2012

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • You’re Sick. Whose Fault Is That? [New York Times]
  • Public Schools Must Address Disparities in Discipline Rates [Center for American Progress]
  • ‘Safety Net’ Hospitals Face Federal Budget Cuts [Pew Trusts]
  • In booming economies, food banks are busier than ever [CNN]
  • We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does. [Vox]


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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