Thursday, February 11, 2010

CENSUS NEWS BRIEF #87

CENSUS NEWS BRIEF

February 10, 2010 No. 87


In this issue

House Bill Would Curtail "Deceptive" Census Mailings
Census Bureau To Release Block-level Group Quarters Data Early
The Rest of the News ...
Stakeholder Spotlight
New Resources for Census Advocates

Editors note: A number of events highlighted in the February 6th Census News Brief #86 were postponed due to the snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Information on rescheduled events is included in this edition.


Not ready for Valentine's Day? Don't worry: You can send a Census Valentine with the click of a mouse and promote participation in the 2010 census. The ya es hora. Hagase Contar! campaign is offering electronic Valentine's Day postcards with the theme Cuenta a tu ser querido/Count the one you love! Go to http://hagasecontar.yaeshora.info/pages?id=0005 and make sure your loved ones are counted in the census!


HOUSE BILL WOULD CURTAIL
"DECEPTIVE" CENSUS SURVEYS


PLUS:

CENSUS BUREAU TO RELEASE BLOCK-LEVEL DATA ON PRISON POPULATIONS IN TIME FOR REDISTRICTING

THE REST OF THE NEWS: House hearing rescheduled
STAKEHOLDER SPOTLIGHT: School Boards endorse Latino census campaign; National Latino Congreso resolution; and more.
RESOURCES FOR CENSUS ADVOCATES



HOUSE BILL WOULD CURTAIL"DECEPTIVE"
CENSUS SURVEYS



Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) today introduced a bill (H.R. 4621) that aims to curtail "look alike" direct mail that "deliberately attempt[s] to confuse people into opening envelopes by imitating official Census documents," according to a press release from the long time member of the House census oversight subcommittee. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), chairman of the committee with jurisdiction over the Census Bureau and Rep. William "Lacy" Clay (D-MO), chairman of the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives are original cosponsors of the measure.

The "Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act" would require any mailing marked "Census" on the outer envelope to identify the name and address of the sender and would amend a current law governing deceptive mailings, that requires a disclaimer that the item is not from or affiliated with the federal government, to cover mailings that bear the word "Census." The legislation "will give Postal Inspectors a much needed tool to crack down on the widespread, deceptive mail pieces sent by scam artists and some partisan groups who try to exploit the U.S. Census for their own purposes," Chairman Clay said. The bill gives the Postal Service authority to pursue appropriate remedies to stop mailings that do not comply with the new requirements. The sponsors noted that mailings purporting to be official government documents or related to the upcoming decennial census have been sent to households "ranging from Georgia to Colorado to Montana."

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has come under fire recently from survey researchers, census experts, and members of Congress for an issues survey and fundraising appeal labeled "Congressional District Census" and bearing a "census tracking code" on the outside envelope. (See February 6th Census News Brief for additional information on the mailing.)

H.R. 4621 was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


NEW CENSUS DATA PRODUCT WOULD AID REDISTRICTING WITHOUT PRISON POPULATIONS


The Census Bureau has agreed to release, by May 2011, block-level information on the location of group quarters facilities, such as prisons, which would allow state and local legislatures to redraw district lines without including inmates, according to a statement from the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative (PPI). The PPI has been documenting the effects of the census residence rule governing prisoners on the redistricting process; the organization produces the Prisoners of the Census newsletter.

Under residence rules that govern where people are counted in the decennial census, prisoners are counted at their place of incarceration on Census Day, not at their home address. A growing number of advocacy organizations, including the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Demos, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and Unity Diaspora Coalition, are pressing for a change in the prisoner rule, arguing that the frequent placement of prisons in rural counties with otherwise small populations artificially inflates political representation for these areas. Several states legislatures, including New York's, are considering proposals to remove prisoners from the population base used for state redistricting.

The PPI reported that Census Director Robert Groves reached an agreement with census oversight subcommittee Chairman Clay to release detailed information on the location of group quarters, including prisoners, much earlier than in previous censuses, to allow interested legislatures to consider the data in the redistricting process. The PPI and other prisoners' rights advocates also have urged the Census Bureau to collect a home address from inmates, who are counted during the Group Quarters Enumeration operation in April.

PPI executive director Peter Wagner called the agreement "an important step toward recognizing the need for improved data on incarcerated populations so that states can end the practice of prison-based gerrymandering." National Coalition on Black Civic Participation executive director Melanie Campbell said the current residence rule "punishes [prisoners'] families and can have staggering effects on poor and minority communities."

Earlier in the decade, Congress requested a report from the Census Bureau on the possibility of counting prisoners at their pre-incarceration address, instead of at prison locations. The report is available on the Census Bureau's web site.


THE REST OF THE NEWS ...



RESCHEDULED House hearing on paid media campaign: The House Subcommitee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform), chaired by Rep. William "Lacy" Clay (D-MO), has rescheduled its hearing (originally set for February 10) to review the 2010 census paid media campaign, with a focus on the targeted campaigns to reach historically hard-to-count communities. The hearing is now scheduled for February 24, at 10:00AM in Room 2247 Rayburn House Office Building. Invited witnesses include Census Director Robert Groves and representatives of national advocacy organizations engaged in census outreach to hard-to-count population groups.

STAKEHOLDER SPOTLIGHT


✓ The Board of Directors of the National Association of School Boards endorsed the ya es hora ¡Hagase Contar¡ 2010 census campaign. Research has shown that children, especially under age five, are missed disproportionately in the decennial census.

✓ The 2010 National Latino Congreso unanimously approved a resolution calling for full participation in the 2010 census. The resolution also urged greater spending on outreach to hard-to-count communities, called on the Department of Homeland Security to halt "anti-immigrant enforcement measures" during the census, and warned that a census undercount might require a statistical adjustment. Census Director Groves told Congress during his confirmation hearing last year that he would not support the use of statistical methods to adjust the 2010 census, saying the Census Bureau had not prepared for such a contingency.

One thousand Latino leaders and activists attended the 4th National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles earlier this month. In a written statement, Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, President of the Hispanic Federation, urged President Obama to take steps to halt raids, firings, and deportations during the census, "to dispel any fears that the immigrant community have" about participating in the decennial count.

✓ The City of Portland and Multnomah County, Oregon, announced that its Census Complete Count Committee had awarded $140,000 in mini-grants to local community organizations and nonprofits conducting outreach in hard-to-count and low response communities. The local governments partnered with private foundations and businesses to raise funds for the Complete Count program. The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette will administer the grants, which will fund projects involving more than 25 organizations serving targeted populations.

Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury said the grants "will ensure specific outreach and assistance in completing the Census in communities of color, with seniors and people who are disabled, and for those who are experiencing homelessness." Portland Commissioner Nick Fish noted the importance of census data for funding education, transportation, housing, emergency food and shelter, and senior citizen programs.

✓ RESCHEDULED: The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has rescheduled its webinar on "How To Be Involved in the Indian Country Counts Campaign," to discuss strategies for reaching American Indians and Alaska Natives with effective census messaging. Send an e-mail to tdeal@ncai.org if you would like to participate in the February 17th (2:00PM EST) event. NCAI also is hosting a census art competition.


RESOURCES FOR CENSUS ADVOCATES


✍ The Latino Census Network, a project of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP), is a national clearinghouse for census issues facing the Latino community. Sign up to receive news articles, political commentary, notices of Latino community census events, and other relevant information.

✍ The Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network's Nonprofits Count! campaign is offering two new posters for nonprofits and other organizations and businesses that serve hard-to-count communities to display in their lobbies and windows. Visit http://www.nonprofitscount.org/ to order a free poster.

QUICK LINKS:

2010 Census Web Site : The Census Bureau's new 2010 census web site offers useful basic information on the census process, as well as sample questionnaires, information on job opportunities, and in-language materials. Add it to your "Bookmarks" bar to track mail response rates daily for your state and locality starting in late March.

2010 Census Web Site in Spanishy: New official 2010 census Spanish language web site.

2010 Census Jobs : Visit this web page to download a Census Practice Test and find information about the application process and a Local Census Office near you.

The Census Project : Visit the Census Project web site for previous Census News Briefs, fact sheets, and a weekly blog in support of an accurate 2010 census. Become a fan of the Census Project on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Census-Project/251237523383.

Census 2010 Interactive Hard To Count Mapping Site : This new mapping site, developed by the City University of New York Mapping Services at the Graduate Center, allows users to pinpoint hard-to-count census tracts and identify the socio-economic characteristics that contribute to difficult enumeration conditions, allowing advocates to target outreach and tailor messages. The URL is www.CensusHardToCountMaps.org.

Leadership Conference Education Fund : The LCEF 2010 Census campaign offers fact sheets, a toolkit, data on the census undercount, and promotional materials to reach historically hard-to-count communities.

Nonprofits Count: The Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network's 2010 census campaign features fact sheets, a toolkit, posters and swag, and state-specific resources to help nonprofits promote census participation.

ya es hora ¡HAGASE CONTAR¡ : Resources and promotional materials, in Spanish and English, targeting the Latino population.


National Urban League
: This Census Information Center web page includes links to demographic information on the Black population, job opportunities, and other 2010 census materials.


Asian American Justice Center
: Resources and information, including in-language census forms, targeting the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations.

Indian Country Counts : Region-specific information, events, job listings, and tools for the American Indian and Alaska Native populations.


Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.


Contact information:
TerriAnn2K@aol.com
(tel.) 203-353-4364


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