The Weekly Wonk September 28, 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.

This week on the OK Policy Blog, we explained how funding cuts are leaving Oklahoma’s community health centers in dire straits. We’ve previously discussed funding woes for community health centers. We illustrated how indiscriminate DNA testing could put innocent Oklahomans at risk. In this week’s Capitol Updates post, Steve Lewis describes the advent of the state budget process and the discomfort that ensues when agency directors trying to do good fight over limited funds. We also welcomed our new class of Research Fellows and interns.

This week on the PolicyCast, we talked about the growing crisis in Oklahoma’s prisons and signs that state leaders might actually do something about it; yet another controversy around state Superintendent Barresi; how the Oklahoma governor’s race is heating up on the airwaves; and more. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt evaluated new poverty data and noted that Oklahoma’s economy is only as good as political leaders say it is if you’re not poor or middle-class. Ozy Magazine quoted Blatt in an article on past and impending income tax cuts across the US. The Enid News previewed and covered a Together Tuesdays event. Learn more about Together OK‘s Together Tuesdays here.

KGOU aired audio from a panel on Oklahoma’s fiscal challenges. The panel had convened as part of our 2014 Summer Policy Institute. In our Editorial of the Week, former CEO of Oklahoma Health Care Authority Mike Fogarty explained why accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma would be good for the state’s health.

Quote of the week:

“There’s supposed to be two per cell but there’s, like you know, five or six in a cell. People are sleeping under beds and in walkways; some aren’t on mats but on the floor.”

– A woman whose husband was in the Okmulgee County jail, which is currently housing more than double the 150 inmates it was designed to hold. A riot early this week caused $10,000 in damage and sent one inmate to the hospital. Prison officials blamed the riot on “extreme overcrowding.” (Source:

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Numbers of the day:

  • 18.3% – The poverty rate for women in Oklahoma, 1.5 percentage points higher than the state as a whole.
  • 28.06% – Percentage of Oklahoma nursing homes with “severe deficiencies,” defined as violations of state or federal law that resulted in resident injury, abuse, neglect or death.
  • 22.9% – Poverty rate for Native Americans in Oklahoma in 2013, 6.1 percentage points higher than the US as a whole.
  • $2.55 million – How much Oklahoma put in a fund to reimburse uncompensated care at community health centers this year — less than one-third of what they said they will need, and even less than the $3.12 million FY 2014 funding that ran out before half the year was over.
  • 2,300 – Unintentional injury deaths in Oklahoma in 2012, 1 out of every 16 deaths in the state that year. The leading causes of unintentional injury death include poisonings, motor vehicle crashes, and falls.

See previous Numbers of the Day 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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