January 2016 Update

APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE – FY2017: With a funding bill for Fiscal Year 2016 finally in the rearview mirror, it’s already time to prepare for the next round of appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY2017), which starts October 1, 2016.

The President will release his FY2017 budget request on February 9th. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said he wants to accelerate consideration of the 12 appropriations bills this year (presumably, in part, because Congress will take an extended summer recess due to the party conventions), bringing some bills to the House floor as early as March. That means census stakeholders must be prepared to act quickly — conveying support for full 2020 Census and American Community Survey (ACS) funding, as well as opposition to any attempts to weaken the ACS, to key lawmakers within days of release of the Administration’s budget.

Please keep an eye out for a Census Project sign-on letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees shortly after February 9th. We will need to turn around that letter quickly. In addition, we strongly encourage state and local organizations to convey a similar message to their own congressional delegations, emphasizing the importance of accurate, comprehensive census and ACS data to their own communities and work. The Census Project also will provide updated fact sheets on key 2020 Census planning milestones and activities scheduled for FY2017.

A new year, a new look! Check out the Census Project’s newly redesigned website! We’ve updated “the look,” and reorganized materials to help you find the resources you need more easily. We will continue working to improve our site’s organization and content.

2020 CENSUS PLANNING: Here are a few key developments of interest to our broad stakeholder coalition —

  • The Census Bureau released the final RFP for the 2020 Census Integrated Communications Contract. The goal of the communications program is to build awareness and promote self-response through multiple vehicles and platforms. Feel free to share the RFP with your networks and constituencies.
  • The Census Bureau has decided not to pursue a “Bring Your Own Device” option for census takers going door-to-door to collect information from unresponsive households (called Nonresponse Follow-up, or NRFU). Instead, the bureau will use a “Device as a Service” option: it will award a telecommunications contract to a company that can provide mobile devices and a service plan for census takers (often called “enumerators”). More information about this operational decision is available online.
  • The Census Bureau will issue its proposed “residence rules” for the 2020 Census some time this summer, according to Census Director John Thompson. The rules cover where people should be counted to meet the standard of “usual place of residence” on Census Day.

Census Project stakeholders deserve enormous credit for helping to ensure a sufficient funding level for the 2020 Census this year and to preserve a comprehensive, mandatory ACS. Thank you for your continued support! Let’s keep the momentum going in 2016.