I, Bill Walker, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24 of the Alaska Constitution, and in accordance with AS 44.19.145(c), establish the Governor’s 2020 Census Alaska Complete Count Commission (ACCC).
The Constitution of the United States requires an enumeration of the population every 10 years to apportion congressional representation among the states. Pursuant to Section 141 of Title 13, United States Code, the next federal decennial census of the population will be taken on the first day of April 2020.
The importance of U.S Census Bureau data collections, combined with the unique challenges of Census data collection in Alaska, create a unique confluence of circumstances that need to be addressed. A complete and accurate count of Alaska’s population is essential, as there are over 70 federal programs benefiting Alaska that use census enumerations and population numbers as part of their funding formulas; including formulas for education, health, and human services programs. Other significant implications include:
- State legislative redistricting and enforcement of state and federal laws, including civil rights laws, voting rights requirements, and the obligation of financial institutions to serve minority populations;
- Research and planning affecting data collection and program development for issues such as workforce and employment, health, education, crime, transportation, housing and many others;
- Funding and policy at the federal level are vitally dependent upon the census, as the federal government allocates $675 billion annually based upon Census Bureau data, including more than $3.2 billion within Alaska each year, providing critical funding to improve infrastructure, operate our health and education systems, develop and operate affordable housing, and much more;
- Tribes, governments, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and universities use Census Bureau data in their planning efforts and to develop critical public policy recommendations; and
- Many Alaska Statutes depend upon census and/or population estimates data (such as community assistance and matching funds, health facility allocations, Power Cost Equalization, and others).
Adequate federal funding is essential to ensuring accuracy of Census Bureau data collections, including the 2020 Census and the annual American Community Survey. However, extremely low federal funding levels have been proposed for the U.S. Census Bureau for FY 2018, which could lead to failure to ramp up federal resources as in past censuses, thereby jeopardizing the accuracy of essential Census Bureau data collections.
As the largest, least densely populated state in the country, Alaska’s population is one of the most difficult to count in the U.S. Census. Underfunding Census Bureau data collections significantly increases the risk that Alaskans will go uncounted, particularly in hard-to-count communities and census tracts, including those with a high proportion of Alaska Native persons. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 U.S. Census undercounted Alaska Natives and American Indians by an estimated 4.9% and undercounted Alaska’s special-enumeration tracts by an estimated 8%. The consequences of undercounting Alaskans in 2020 could cause inequitable redistricting, decreased federal funding that exacerbates the State’s fiscal situation, and a lack of accurate data for organizations in our state to provide essential services and make informed investments. Additional consequences of undercounting Alaskan’s in 2020 would include reductions in essential services such as infrastructure repairs, decreased funding for education and critical programs that make up Alaska’s social safety net, improper enforcement of laws that protect vulnerable populations, and less accurate data for tribes and tribal organizations to effectively plan for the future.
It is vitally important for Alaska to do everything it can to ensure that each Alaskan is counted in the upcoming census. Establishing the Governor’s 2020 Census Alaska Complete Count Commission assures focus and coordination in marshalling state structures and resources, maximizing state efforts.
Duties and Responsibilities
The ACCC is an advisory body that will develop and provide recommendations for the Governor and assist in the administration of a census outreach strategy to encourage maximum participation in the 2020 federal decennial census.
The census outreach strategy may include, but is not limited to, State agency initiatives to encourage participation in the 2020 Census, the establishment and support of school-based outreach programs, partnerships with non-profit community-based organizations, and a multi-lingual, multi-media campaign designed to ensure an accurate and complete count of Alaska’s population.
- Community Education 2018-2019
- Community Awareness April 2019
- Community Motivation March-May 2020
- Community Advocacy May-July 2020
- Thank You to Communities July 2020
The ACCC shall submit an initial report to the Governor by January 1, 2019, outlining its recommended outreach strategy to encourage full participation and avoid an undercount in the 2020 Census. The ACCC shall submit interim reports every January 1 and June 30 thereafter, with a final report no later than June 30, 2021, detailing actual outreach efforts, results that were implemented for the 2020 Census, and lessons learned for the next Census.
The ACCC is composed of the following voting members, appointed by, and who serve at the pleasure of, the Governor. A majority of the appointed members constitutes a quorum.
- One representative from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development;
- One representative from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development;
- One representative from the Department of Health and Social Services;
- One representative from a Regional Healthcare Organization;
- One representative of the Alaska Municipal League or similar organization that represents municipalities in the state;
- One representative from a Tribal organization, as recommended by the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council;
- One representative from the Alaska Census Working Group, who shall serve as Chair;
- Two public at-large members;
- The ACCC may include a member recommended by the Speaker of the House and a member recommended by the Senate President.
The ACCC is assigned to the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development for administrative support.
The ACCC may adopt operating procedures as bylaws, appoint workgroups as it deems appropriate, and may solicit participation from relevant experts and practitioners involved in census issues. Workgroups and subcommittees may include individuals who are not members of the ACCC.
The ACCC shall hold meetings no less than quarterly; with additional meetings authorized at the call of the chair or at the call of a majority of members. Meetings of the ACCC or its workgroups will be held telephonically or by video conference to the extent practicable to minimize travel expenses and gain the widest participation at minimum cost.
ACCC members do not receive compensation as a member of the ACCC; however, per diem and travel expenses authorized for boards and commissions under AS 39.20.180 are authorized for members who are not State, federal, or local government employees. Per diem and travel expenses for members who are a representative of a government agency are the responsibility of that agency.
All ACCC meetings or its workgroups shall be conducted in accordance with AS 44.62.310 – 44.62.319 (Open Meetings Act). The ACCC may hold public hearings and request information from the public and other interested persons necessary to carry out its advisory functions. Records of the ACCC and any workgroups are subject to inspection and copying as public records under AS 40.25.100 – 40.25.295 (Alaska Public Records Act).
This order does not affect the procedures and requirements for adopting regulations, including procedures for notice and comment on proposed regulations under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act).
This Order takes effect immediately and remains in effect until June 30, 2021
Dated this day of October, 2018.