The Weekly Wonk: Raise the minimum wage, off the runoff, and more

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

This week on the OK Policy Blog, Executive Director David Blatt wrote that raising the minimum wage would be good for both working families and local economies. Intern Kylie Thomas explained that income inequality in Oklahoma has declined

Blatt’s Journal Record column argued that Oklahoma should end runoff elections, a topic he explored in greater depth in a blog post on the same topic. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update explained a new initiative to offer treatment for Oklahomans with prescription drug addiction issues.

Weekly What’s That


Coinsurance” (or co-insurance) is an insurance term that means splitting or spreading risk among multiple parties. Expressed as a percentage, it describes what portion of health care costs will be paid by an insurance company after the insured person has exceeded their deductible up to the policy’s stop-loss (after which all related costs are typically covered). Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“The conversations happening because of State Question 779 are long overdue. This campaign will continue to talk about the importance of giving our teachers a pay raise and investing in our schools because we can no longer allow public education to be dismantled brick by brick.”

– OU President David Boren on the proposed sales tax increase for education (Source). Read our statement on the proposal here.

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Board, The Tulsa World

Boards of education have cut teachers’ jobs and shortened the school week to four days. Thousands of Oklahomans in need of mental health treatment are ending up in jails and prisons because they can’t get the help they need. Those prisons are dangerously full and dangerously understaffed. Across the board, essential state services are being cut because the state Legislature failed to meet its obligations to the taxpayers.

Maybe Thompson should take a page out of the school system’s playbook and only patrol highways six days a week. Or maybe the Legislature should come up with a more realistic state revenue structure.

Numbers of the Day

  • 4.9% – Percent of Oklahoma adults who reported using pain medications recreationally from 2013-2014, the highest percentage in the US (tied with Colorado)
  • 56.8% – Percent of Oklahoma adults who received dental services 2013-2014, the 2nd lowest in the US (tied with Mississippi)
  • 16.2% – Percent of non-institutionalized Oklahoma adults with a disability in 2014. Three-way tie for fifth highest
  • 142 – Number of women per 100,000 incarcerated in Oklahoma
  • 22.5% – Percent of adults 65+ who had had all of their teeth extracted in 2014, tied with Mississippi for third-highest in the nation

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • The Billions We’re Wasting in Our Jails [Governing]
  • For Detroit’s Children, More School Choice but Not Better Schools [New York Times]
  • Kansas’ Insane Right-Wing Experiment Is About to Destroy Its Roads [Slate]
  • My four months as a private prison guard [Mother Jones]
  • The Growing Imperative for Age-Friendly Communities [Governing]


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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