The Weekly Wonk: State Questions, who’s not voting, 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, a guest post from Sen. Connie Johnson argued that SQ 776, which would affirm Oklahoma’s right to perform executions, has a dangerous hidden agenda. Executive Director David Blatt wrote that claims SQ 777 (“Right to Farm”) will boost food security are hard to swallow. Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler explained why OK Policy is supporting SQ 780 and 781, the criminal justice reform state questions on the ballot.

In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis examined Oklahoma’s $1.3 billion school funding gap. Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed who doesn’t vote in Oklahoma

OK Policy in the News

Blatt spoke to the Associated Press about rising health insurance premiums in Oklahoma. He spoke to FOX25 for a report on budget negotiations between Governor Fallin’s office and the legislature. Governing magazine quoted Blatt on SQ 779, which would raise the sales tax to pay for education, and Blatt spoke to the Enid News on the same topic. Our statement on SQ 779 is available here

Policy Director Gene Perry spoke to KOSU about Oklahoma’s per-pupil spending cuts. Our report on the topic is available here. Forrest Bennett, candidate for office in HD 92, cited OK Policy in an interview with NonDoc. 

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. Una versión en español de las Enmiendas Estatales de Oklahoma 2016 está disponible aquí.

Weekly What’s That

State Question 640

State Question 640 was a citizen-initiated ballot measure that was approved by Oklahoma voters in a special election in March 1992 with 56.2 percent of the vote. The measure amended Article 5, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution to add restrictions on how revenue bills can become law. Under SQ 640, a revenue bill can only become law if: (1) it is approved by a 3/4th vote of both legislative chambers and is signed by the Governor; or (2) it is referred by the legislature to a vote of the people at the next general election and receives majority approval. Read more.

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

Quote of the Week

“If State Question 779 were to pass I’m sure the Legislature would be hesitant to do any additional funding for education. But if it fails, the Legislature won’t do anything.”

-Rep. Ed Cannaday (D-Porum), who believes the Legislature won’t take action on education funding next year, regardless of the outcome of the education sales tax state question vote (Source). See OK Policy’s fact sheet about SQ 779 here.

Editorial of the Week

Arnold Hamilton, The Journal Record

The political equivalent of Krazy Days is set to end officially on Nov. 8. Whether it does may depend on Twitter Dum’s mood at 3 the next morning, whether he’s won or lost – and by how much.

Sadly, what’s been too-often overlooked amid @realDonaldTrump’s tweet-storms is the entirety of this year’s Oklahoma ballot, arguably the most consequential in a generation, if not more.

The results of seven state questions – each politically, culturally and socially significant – will speak volumes about who we are as Oklahomans. And fiercely contested legislative races will set the state’s course amid a self-inflicted budget calamity that threatens vital services, especially public education.

Numbers of the Day

  • 26.9% – How much Oklahoma’s state aid funding for public schools has been cut per pupil after inflation since FY 2008, the largest cuts in the nation
  • 46th – Oklahoma’s rank in America’s Health Rankings report on the health of women and children in all 50 states
  • 27% – Percent of LGBT adults who indicated they did not have enough money for food, compared to 21% of non-LGBT adults in Oklahoma
  • 19.1 – Suicide rate per 100,000 in Oklahoma, 2014
  • 31% – Percent of Oklahoma parents below 200% of of the federal poverty level (FPL; just over $32,000 per year for a single parent and child) who indicated that they had concerns about their child’s development, 2011-2012. Above 200% of FPL, 18% of Oklahoma parents indicated such concern

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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