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The official podcast of Oklahoma Policy Institute. Interviews and lively discussion of the most important issues affecting Oklahoma.

The official podcast of Oklahoma Policy Institute. Interviews and lively discussion of the most important issues affecting Oklahoma.
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The official podcast of Oklahoma Policy Institute. Interviews and lively discussion of the most important issues affecting Oklahoma.








OK PolicyCast 44: 2019 BIll Watch, Part 2

In our last episode, we heard from David Blatt and Carly Putnam about the big issues and bills we're following this year related to the state budget and health care. This episode brings you part 2 of that bill watch series, with criminal justice analyst Damion Shade, education analyst Rebecca Fine, and economic opportunity analyst Courtney Cullison. Links to read more: Bill Watch: Opportunities to make Oklahomans better off economically this session [OK Policy] Bill Watch: A wide range of...


OK PolicyCast 43: 2019 BIll Watch, Part 1

It's a new year, a new Legislature, a new governor, and many new bills that could have a big impact on Oklahomans' lives. In this episode, Gene Perry talks to OK Policy's Executive Director David Blatt and Policy Director Carly Putnam about the big issues we're keeping an eye on this year related to the state budget, taxes, and health. In a future episode, we'll talk about other bills we're tracking related to education, criminal justice, and economic opportunity. The OKPolicyCast is hosted...


OKPolicyCast 42: The 2018 OK Policy Holiday Gift Guide

There are a lot of reasons why winter is our favorite time of year (Fewer tornadoes! Legislative session starts soon!). However, one big reason is that it's when we're most likely to give and be given books — always dear to a policy nerd's heart. It's also the time when we get to share them with you! In the latest episode of the OK PolicyCast, we discuss some of the books we've read and loved over the last year that we hope you'll consider picking up, whether it's to give them away or keep...


OKPolicyCast 41: Fair Wages and Overtime for State Workers (with Sterling Zearley)

Today our guest is Sterling Zearley, who leads the Oklahoma Public Employees Association. OPEA represents thousands of state workers, including everyone from child welfare caseworkers to transportation engineers, corrections officers, mental health counselors, and more. In recent years in Oklahoma, teachers have gotten the most attention to their stagnant or falling pay and rising class sizes. Many state workers have faced very similar issues, as they try to do jobs that may be less visible...


OKPolicyCast 40: In prison for what's now a misdemeanor (with Damion Shade and Colleen McCarty)

In 2016, Oklahomans voted to approve State Question 780 which changed simple drug possession crimes and low-level, non-violent property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. That law went into effect on July 1, 2017 and is already reshaping Oklahoma's justice system, with many fewer Oklahomans being charged with a felony and sent to prison for drug possession. Yet there are still thousands of Oklahomans serving long prison sentences or living with a felony record and all the serious...


OKPolicyCast 39: Bad Voter, Good Voter (with David Glover)

In recent years, Oklahoma has seen some of the lowest voter turnout in the nation. Turnout was well below the nation in the 2012 and 2016 presidential races. In our last governor's race in 2014, Oklahoma had the fewest votes cast for governor going back to 1978. But that wasn't always true in Oklahoma. For decades before the 2010s, Oklahomans voted at rates near or above the national average. Then in June elections this year, Oklahomans showed up at unprecedented levels for a primary race....


OKPolicyCast 38: All The State Questions (with David Blatt and Carly Putnam)

On November 6, besides voting for a new governor and several other state offices, Oklahoma voters will decide five state questions on topics from optometry to school funding. To help you make informed choices on these state questions, OK Policy has already released fact sheets for each one with background information and a summary of arguments made by both supporters and opponents. To add to this resource, today I spoke with OK Policy's Executive Director David Blatt and our Policy Director...


OKPolicyCast 37: Together Oklahoma (with Sabine Brown)

In this episode, I spoke with Sabine Brown, who is the outreach and advocacy coordinator for Oklahoma Policy Institute. Through that work, Sabine heads up Together Oklahoma, a grassroots coalition with chapters across the state of people joining with their neighbors to advocate for better public policy. We talked about how Sabine got into this work, and how many others have become members and leaders of Together Oklahoma without having a lot of prior experience working on state policy or...


OKPolicyCast 36: Back to School (with Rob Miller)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org. This month many kids and teachers are heading back to school in Oklahoma. Also this month, an increase in Oklahoma's teacher pay scale is...


OKPolicyCast 35: A frank conversation about criminal justice

Last week, Oklahoma Policy Institute hosted our annual Summer Policy Institute for about 60 college students from all over Oklahoma. The 4-day event featured speakers and panels on a wide range of topics. For this episode of the OKPolicyCast, we're sharing the live recording of one of those panels — an interesting, frank, contentious discussion of Oklahoma's criminal justice system. If after listening to this you'd like to hear more from panelist Jill Webb, check out Episode 25 of the...


Episode 34: No job? No doctor. (with Carly Putnam & Hannah Katch)

This year, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the state Legislature ordered the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which runs Medicaid in Oklahoma, to come up with a plan to require Oklahoma adults on Medicaid to work at least 20 hours each week. If they don’t meet this requirement, or if they don’t do the paperwork to report their work or get an exemption in time, they will lose their Medicaid coverage and become uninsured. OK Policy’s Carly Putnam has been doing a lot of work on this issue,...


Episode 33: Keith Gaddie on the forces shaking Oklahoma politics

A couple weeks ago was one of the most interesting and unexpected elections in Oklahoma in a long time. From a big surge in turnout, strong approval of medical marijuana, and numerous incumbents either being forced into a runoff or voted out altogether, it's clear that something is changing in Oklahoma politics. What happened, what does it mean for the coming runoffs and general elections, and what will our state look like after it all shakes out? To better understand these questions, I...


Episode 32: Danielle Allen, from South Central Los Angeles to the Declaration of Independence

We've got something really special for you today. In this conversation between author Danielle Allen and Tulsa civil rights attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, they dig deep into how the inequalities of America — racial inequality, social inequality, economic inequality — play out not just in statistics and political debates, but in the personal dynamics of real individuals and families — as Danielle Allen puts it, in the "rending of kith and kin." It was a powerful, impactful conversation,...


Episode 31: Elizabeth Nichols on medical cannabis and SQ 788

For this episode, we spoke with Elizabeth Nichols, an attorney who has worked extensively with the emerging cannabis industry in Oklahoma and nearby states. With Oklahomans voting in just two weeks on State Question 788 to legalize medical cannabis, Nichols shared her perspective on how the medical cannabis industry is developing in other states, what she sees as the best models for implementing medical cannabis in Oklahoma, and what she expects from the SQ 788 vote on June 26. You can...


Episode 30: DeVon Douglass on taking on Tulsa's toughest challenges

We spoke with DeVon Douglass, the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Tulsa, about the work her team is doing to take on Tulsa's toughest challenges, from teen homelessness to deep inequities in housing, transportation, and education. Their recent Tulsa Equality Indicators report assesses many of the barriers to a good life and better opportunities for Tulsans — but DeVon's not only working to describe the problems. She tells us how the Tulsa city and community is gearing up to take on...


Episode 29: What Just Happened

The OK PolicyCast is back! In this episode, we look at what just happened in one of the most tumultuous legislative years in Oklahoma history. Bailey Perkins speaks about what it was like being at the state Capitol before, during, and after the teacher walkout. Carly Putnam shares some major developments in health care policy. And Ryan Gentzler talks about this year's most important criminal justice legislation, both the good and the bad. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google...


Episode 28: Mid-Session Update

Now that we're just past the halfway point in the Legislative session, Kara Joy and Gene talk about which key bills are still alive, which are dead, and what's at play in negotiations over the state budget. To find out how you can take action on bills during the rest of session, see OK Policy's Advocacy Alerts page, and to join efforts for a better Oklahoma state budget, visit Together Oklahoma.


Episode 27: So You Want To Effect Change

Today on the OK PolicyCast, we speak with Shay White, a social worker and advocate with Together Oklahoma and ACTION. She spoke to us about what motivated her to get involved with policy change, what keeps her going, and "that one thing that gets us up every morning." If you have any questions for the OK PolicyCast, topics you'd like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org. Extra links: Together OklahomaACTION TulsaVOICE OKC


Episode 26: The GOP Health Plan

We speak with OK Policy health care analyst Carly Putnam about the new plan from the House GOP to replace the Affordable Care Act. We talk about how the bill does and doesn't change the Affordable Care Act, what chance it has to pass, and how it could affect Oklahomans' health care. Extra Links: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Episode 25: How the criminal justice system really works

On this episode we speak with Jill Webb, an attorney with the Tulsa County Public Defender's office. She gives us a tour of how the real criminal justice system is different from popular ideas about police and the courts, embodied by shows like Law and Order. Extra links: (New York Times) (OK Policy)