June 19, 2020

Harris, Schatz to Introduce Bill Ensuring Accurate Census Count

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) announced on Friday the Fair and Accurate Census Act, legislation that would extend statutory deadlines for delivering census data and implement important transparency and accountability requirements to help ensure a complete count in the 2020 Census.

“An accurate and comprehensive census is critical to our country’s democracy,” said Harris. “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our society, including the 2020 Census. The Fair and Accurate Census Act will provide the Census Bureau with the authority, tools, and oversight it needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and conduct an fair and accurate count. Let me be clear: no one should go uncounted.”

“The Census plays a vital role in our democracy, ensuring that every person receives the representation and services they deserve,” said Schatz. "The COVID-19 crisis has delayed the 2020 Census operations by months, and there's real concern around getting everyone counted. Our bill extends the statutory deadlines for delivering 2020 Census data and provides additional funding for the Census Bureau, so that we can achieve an accurate count and reach all communities.”

The Fair and Accurate Census Act:

  • Extends statutory deadline for submitting apportionment data, the data used to determine how many Representatives each state is allotted, from December 31, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
  • Extends statutory deadline for transmitting redistricting data to states and localities from March 31, 2021 to July 31, 2021.
  • Requires the Census Bureau to transmit monthly reports to relevant Congressional committees on decennial census operations.
  • Provides an exemption to institutions of higher education from Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 privacy protections for the purpose of enumerating students during the 2020 Census.
  • Prohibits the Census Bureau from compiling, producing, or publishing any data products in connection with the 2020 decennial census of population that include topics that were not part of the 2018 End-to-End Census Test.
  • Appropriates $400 M to Census Bureau for the 2020 Census provided the amounts be used to address the impacts of the coronavirus on the 2020 Census and to support enhances 2020 Census activities.

The Fair and Accurate Census Act is endorsed by Common Cause, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NALEO Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), PFLAG, the National Disability Rights Network to the Fair and Accurate Census Act, and the ACLU. 

Bill text can be found HERE.

A one-pager on the bill can be found HERE.