The Weekly Wonk: SNAP works, foster care, efficient health care, 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, Policy Director Gene Perry highlighted a new report showing that SNAP works to feed Oklahoma children. Summer Intern Tara Grigson suggested that Oklahoma is relying overmuch on foster care to prevent child abuse and neglect. Policy Analyst Carly Putnam argued that Oklahoma has an efficient way to make health care more accessible – if lawmakers would choose to fund it.

In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis wrote that in the last weeks before Election Day, many candidates are running blind. Executive Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column noted that the Governor’s proclamation of Oilfield Prayer Day was an entanglement of government and religion that may become more common if SQ790 passes.

OK Policy in the News

The Woodward News cited OK Policy data in a discussion of food insecurity in northwest Oklahoma. KJRH quoted the OK Policy State Question Guide in their primers on SQ790 (religion and public resources), SQ776 (constitutionality of the death penalty), SQ777 (“Right to Farm”), and SQ792 (alcohol modernization). Our fact sheets about those State Questions, and more, can be found here.

Oklahoma 2016 State Questions and Elections

Oklahoma’s statewide general election is Tuesday, November 8th! You can learn more about voting logistics here with our 2016 Oklahoma Election Guide. In addition, you can learn more about the seven state questions that will be on the ballot with our 2016 Oklahoma State Question Guide.

Weekly What’s That

Voter ID Requirements

In 2010, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 746, which established new voter identification requirements. The state question requires voters to present a valid government-issued document that includes their name and picture or a voter identification card issued by their county election board. A person who cannot or does not provide one of those forms of identification may sign a sworn statement and cast a provisional ballot. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“The addicts, they’ve got to get in when they’re motivated. By the time they can get in, they’ve relapsed and they’re no longer motivated.”

– Robinson Tolbert, a social worker who helped found the Stigler Health and Wellness Center’s mental health unit, speaking about how Oklahoma’s waiting lists due to lack of funding for treatment has led to people who want treatment falling back into addiction (Source).

Editorial of the Week

Ginnie Graham, The Tulsa World

Women and African-American citizens were arrested, beaten and jailed in this quest, and some were killed. Soldiers have died in war to preserve the nation, keeping the democracy strong and rights in place.

Don’t let their sacrifices go to waste because of a disappointing slate of candidates or it’s inconvenient to a daily routine.

Numbers of the Day

  • 27% – Share of Oklahoma children receiving SNAP benefits in FY 2014. The program helped about 262,300 Oklahoma children have enough to eat that year
  • 319,091 – Number of children in Oklahoma ages 0-5, 2016
  • 9,842 – Number of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Oklahoma, 2012
  • 334 – Number of new HIV diagnoses in Oklahoma in 2014
  • 70% – Percent of Oklahoma labor force without a college degree

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • A third of the homeless people in America are over 50. I’m one of them.  [Vox]
  • Increase in Youth Suicide Prompts States to Act [Pew Trusts]
  • Medicaid Expansion In 2014 Did Not Increase Emergency Department Use But Did Change Insurance Payer Mix [Health Affairs]
  • Welfare and the Underappreciated Value of Long-Term Thinking [Governing]
  • Why black workers who do everything right still get left behind [Washington Post]


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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