Governor Wolf Signs Executive Order to Ensure Full, Accurate 2020 Census
September 14, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today signed an executive order creating the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission, which will make recommendations for the most accurate count of Pennsylvanians in the upcoming census.
“The census data impacts all of us, from the number of seats Pennsylvania has in Congress to the amount of federal funds we revive, to the decisions government, businesses and non-profits make,” said Governor Wolf. “This commission will help our state to have a full and accurate count of our population. We need all people to be counted, from our biggest cities to our small and rural communities. “
The commission will coordinate Pennsylvania’s involvement with the census, which occurs every 10 years. The commission will help the U.S. Census Bureau to recruit Pennsylvanians to be census workers, educate the public about the importance of the census, develop partnerships with public and private sectors to achieve an accurate count, and create a strategy to reach hard-to-count populations.
The governor will appoint up to 45 members to the commission from businesses, academia, community and nonprofit organizations, religious and health care communities, elected and appointed officials, employees from all levels of government, and the Pennsylvania State Data Center.
There are far-reaching implications if Pennsylvania’s population is undercounted in 2020. If the data snapshot does not include all residents, the commonwealth could lose seats in Congress, receive billions of dollars less in federal funds for a variety of services and programs, and the data used by the public and private sector could be impacted.
Census Day is April 1, 2020.
The full text of the Executive Order 2018-05 is below.
WHEREAS, every 10 years beginning in 1790, as mandated by the United States Constitution, the Census of Population and Housing has been taken by the U.S. Government to count all persons and housing units in the United States to reapportion the membership of the U.S. House of Representatives among the States and for other purposes; and
WHEREAS, the next decennial census will be conducted on April 1, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the 2020 Census will be used for Congressional reapportionment, redistricting, and for legislative redistricting, such that having a complete and accurate count of Pennsylvania’s population is essential for the fair representation of the citizenry in the U.S. Congress, the General Assembly of this Commonwealth, and the legislative bodies of local government; and
WHEREAS, individuals, businesses, local governments, and nonprofit organizations will rely on census data for planning and decision-making; and
WHEREAS, it is well established that certain households, special populations, and hard-to-enumerate areas are at risk of being under-counted and under-represented; and
WHEREAS, the populations that have traditionally been under-counted have a significant presence throughout this Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, the state and federal governments will use information gained through the census, including population counts, housing and other data, to distribute billions of dollars in funding to essential programs, including health care and human services programs that are intended to help low-income children and their families; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth and its local jurisdictions utilize census data to provide descriptions of the social and economic characteristics of geographic areas and population groups to determine those areas and groups’ funding needs for infrastructure projects, economic development programs, job training, schools, and other activities; and
WHEREAS, it is important to the Commonwealth that a complete and accurate census count be obtained; and
WHEREAS, to achieve a complete and accurate census count, the Commonwealth must support efforts to share address and other geographic information with the U.S. Census Bureau and other census partners, work with the U.S. Census Bureau on the recruitment of Pennsylvania Census workers, and implement communication strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and hard-to-enumerate areas; and
WHEREAS, to achieve a complete and accurate census count, it is important to involve representatives of the private and public sectors, Pennsylvania’s local governments, state agencies, and other important stakeholders.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of this Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the laws of the Commonwealth, do hereby establish the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission, (hereinafter referred to as “Commission”) as hereinafter set forth:
- Mission. The Commission shall recommend methods and policies to facilitate the most complete and accurate census count in the year 2020, including implementing strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and hard-to-enumerate areas.
- Functions. The Commission shall coordinate the Commonwealth’s involvement in preparing for the decennial census and recommend actions necessary to complete the following:
- Coordinate the Commonwealth’s involvement in the U.S. Census Bureau’s recruitment of Pennsylvanians to assist in a variety of census-related activities.
- Promote and educate Pennsylvanians regarding the importance of the census.
- Develop partnerships between the public and private sectors to maximize resources used to achieve a complete and accurate count.
- Implement cooperative arrangements among local governments, non-profit organizations, and other public and private entities to share addresses and other geographic information.
- Develop and implement strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and hard-to-enumerate areas.
- The Commission shall consist of up to 45 individual members appointed by the Governor, including representation from business, academia, community and nonprofit organizations, religious communities, health care communities, elected and appointed officials and employees from all levels of government, and the Pennsylvania State Data Center, as necessary.
- The Governor will designate a chairperson or chairpersons who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
- The following individuals shall serve as ex-officio members:
- Each member may designate a person to represent them on the Commission.
(1) A representative from the Office of the Governor
(2) Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African-American Affairs
(3) Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs
(4) Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
(5) Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women
(6) Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs
(7) Secretary of Aging
(8) Secretary of Agriculture
(9) Secretary of Banking and Securities
(10) Secretary of the Commonwealth
(11) Secretary of Community and Economic Development
(12) Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources
(13) Secretary of Corrections
(14) Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs
(15) Secretary of Education
(16) Secretary of Environmental Protection
(17) Secretary of General Services
(18) Secretary of Health
(19) Secretary of Human Services
(20) Secretary of Labor and Industry
(21) Adjutant General
(22) Secretary of Revenue
(23) Secretary of Transportation
(24) Director of Emergency Management
(25) Insurance Commissioner
(26) Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner
(27) A legislator appointed from each of the four legislative caucuses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly
- Terms of Membership.
- All members shall be appointed for terms commensurate with the life of the Commission. All members appointed by the Governor shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
- Should a vacancy occur on the Commission, the Governor will appoint a successor, who shall serve the duration of the unexpired term.
- The Term of the Commission shall commence on the Effective Date of this Executive Order and shall expire on March 31, 2021, the Termination Date of this Executive Order.
- Compensation. Members of the Commission shall receive no compensation for their service, except that such members may be reimbursed for actual travel and related expenses in accordance with the Commonwealth’s travel and subsistence policies.
- Reports. The Commission shall provide a report to the Governor at least twice; once, prior to April 1, 2020, on the status of the Commonwealth’s activities leading up to the Census 2020; and once, prior to its expiration, on the Commission’s activity, including recommendations for improving the census process, for utilization in advance of the 2030 Census.
- Meetings and Communications. The Commission shall meet as necessary to carry out the functions of the Commission and, at least quarterly between the Effective Date of this Executive Order and June 30, 2020.
- Pennsylvania Census 2020 Interagency Workgroup. All agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction and represented on the Commission shall cooperate and provide assistance as needed to the Commission in performing its functions. The Commission will receive administrative services and assistance from the Center for Local Government Services in the Department of Community and Economic Development.
- Effective Date. This Executive Order shall be effective immediately.
- Termination Date. This Executive Order shall terminate on March 31, 2021.