Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

04/26/2017 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
03:20:11 PM Start
03:20:57 PM HB229
03:25:51 PM Presentation
04:08:33 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: The Road to Census 2020 by Linda TELECONFERENCED
Akers Smith, Geographer, Los Angeles Regional
Office, US Census Bureau
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 229 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         April 26, 2017                                                                                         
                           3:20 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Sam Kito, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Adam Wool, Vice Chair                                                                                            
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                         
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Gary Knopp                                                                                                       
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Bryce Edgmon (alternate)                                                                                         
OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                         
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 229                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to a bond or cash deposit required for an oil                                                                  
or gas business; relating to claims against an oil and gas                                                                      
business; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
     - MOVED HB 229 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
PRESENTATION:  THE ROAD TO CENSUS 2020                                                                                          
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 229                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OIL & GAS BUSINESS BOND                                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SEATON                                                                                            
04/14/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/14/17       (H)       L&C                                                                                                    
04/24/17       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/24/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/24/17       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/26/17       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LINDA AKERS SMITH, Geographer                                                                                                   
Los Angeles Regional Office                                                                                                     
U.S. Census Bureau                                                                                                              
Van Nuys, California                                                                                                            
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Provided   a  PowerPoint   presentation                                                             
entitled, "The Road to Census 2020."                                                                                            
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:20:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SAM KITO  called  the House  Labor  and Commerce  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at  3:20 p.m.   Representatives Kito,                                                               
Sullivan-Leonard, Stutes,  Birch, and  Josephson were  present at                                                               
the call  to order.   Representative Wool arrived as  the meeting                                                               
was in progress.                                                                                                                
                 HB 229-OIL & GAS BUSINESS BOND                                                                             
3:20:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 229, "An Act  relating to a bond  or cash deposit                                                               
required for an  oil or gas business; relating  to claims against                                                               
an oil and gas business; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
3:21:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  [resumed public testimony  from April 24, 2017].   He                                                               
closed public testimony after ascertaining  that no one wished to                                                               
3:22:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL moved to report  HB 229 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There  being no  objection, HB  229 was  reported from  the House                                                               
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                          
3:22:22 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 3:22 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.                                                                       
             Presentation:  The Road to Census 2020                                                                         
3:25:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO announced that the final  order of business would be a                                                               
PowerPoint  presentation entitled,  "The  Road  to Census  2020,"                                                               
provided by Ms. Linda Akers Smith.                                                                                              
3:26:10 PM                                                                                                                    
LINDA AKERS SMITH, Geographer, Los  Angeles Regional Office, U.S.                                                               
Census Bureau, provided a  PowerPoint presentation entitled, "The                                                               
Road to Census 2020."  Addressing  slide 2, "Why We Do a Census,"                                                               
she stated  that a census is  done to apportion the  435 seats of                                                               
the U.S.  House of Representatives.   Turning to the map  of U.S.                                                               
states on  slide 3, "Apportionment,  2010 Official  Results," she                                                               
explained  that  once  the  official  results  are  released  the                                                               
apportionment occurs -  the states depicted in orange  on the map                                                               
lost seats and those depicted in blue gained seats.                                                                             
MS. AKERS  SMITH moved  to slide 4,  "Also About  Fairness?," and                                                               
noted that while  the decennial census population  count is about                                                               
the apportionment  to congressional  seats of  the states,  it is                                                               
also about  fairness.   The legislation is  the basis  of federal                                                               
legislation, including  the Voting  Rights Act, the  Civil Rights                                                               
Act,  and the  Fair Housing  Act.   Continuing to  slide 5,  "And                                                               
About Funding,"  she said  that the decennial  count is  also the                                                               
basis of  the distribution of  over $400 billion annually  to the                                                               
states.   The Brookings Institution  created the  table displayed                                                               
on slide 5, which shows  the ten largest government programs, she                                                               
continued.  Distribution is directly  tied to population data and                                                               
this includes  the Department of  Housing and  Urban Development,                                                               
the Department  of Education,  the Department  of Transportation,                                                               
and other assistance programs.                                                                                                  
MS. AKERS SMITH displayed slide  6, "The 2010 Census," and stated                                                               
that  the net  results  were  very good  when  compared to  prior                                                               
censuses.   To produce  the net results,  the U.S.  Census Bureau                                                               
("the bureau")  does a separate independent  operation to measure                                                               
the outcome  and then compares it  to the results of  the census.                                                               
Speaking to  the graph on  slide 6,  she explained that  the bars                                                               
above the  line are  the net  undercount, as in  the case  of the                                                               
1980 and  1990 censuses.   A half percentage  over-count occurred                                                               
in 2000  and the 2010  census had  an over-count of  .01 percent.                                                               
From a national  quality perspective, the 2010  results were very                                                               
good, she said, and the bureau wants this to continue.                                                                          
3:28:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. AKERS SMITH turned to the graph  on slide 7, "The Cost of the                                                               
Census," and stated  that conducting a census  is very expensive,                                                               
the cost  going up exponentially.   The bureau  has traditionally                                                               
done the  census using  pencil and  paper, she  said, and  as the                                                               
U.S. becomes  more diverse the costs  tend to be going  up faster                                                               
than inflation and  faster than population growth.   According to                                                               
bureau  estimates, she  noted, if  the census  were repeated  the                                                               
same way as in 2010 the cost would be over $17 billion.                                                                         
MS. AKERS  SMITH moved to slide  8, "Goals for the  2020 Census,"                                                               
and said  the bureau can't  continue its current path.   Congress                                                               
has  challenged  the  bureau  to drive  down  census  costs,  she                                                               
continued,  and  therefore  the  bureau  plans  to  test  several                                                               
initiatives that  are believed will  drive down the costs  of the                                                               
census similar  to 2010  adjusted for  inflation and  yet produce                                                               
high quality results.                                                                                                           
MS.  AKERS SMITH  discussed the  bureau's work  on four  areas of                                                               
innovation,  the  first  area being  efficiency  in  building  an                                                               
address list.  She said the  bureau's address list was updated in                                                               
the field in 2010 as part  of a large-scale field operation where                                                               
the bureau hired  over 150,000 people to travel  every road using                                                               
a  handheld device  to verify  and  update the  addresses on  the                                                               
roads.   For  the 2020  Census, she  continued, completeness  and                                                               
accuracy remain equally  as important.  The bureau will  do a 100                                                               
percent review of its address  list using new methodologies and a                                                               
combination of in-office and in-field  review.  For the in-office                                                               
review,  she  explained, the  bureau  uses  information from  the                                                               
postal   service,  imagery,   commercial  databases,   and  files                                                               
provided  from  tribal,  state, and  local  governments.    Where                                                               
sources are  not available  or there are  areas of  rapid change,                                                               
the bureau puts people on the ground to update the address list.                                                                
3:30:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. AKERS SMITH related that  the second innovation is generating                                                               
the largest  possible self-response, thereby reducing  the number                                                               
of  households  requiring  follow-up.    To  motivate  people  to                                                               
respond,  the bureau  includes  a  nationwide communications  and                                                               
partnership campaign,  she stated.   This campaign is  focused on                                                               
getting people to respond on  their own as it costs significantly                                                               
less to process  a response over the Internet or  through a paper                                                               
questionnaire than  it does to  send a  field worker to  knock on                                                               
the door.   The bureau is  planning on targeting ads  to specific                                                               
audiences,  she continued,  and  working with  trusted voices  to                                                               
inspire participation in the census.   The bureau is also working                                                               
to allow  more options to respond  from any location at  any time                                                               
via phone, Internet, or mobile website.   This time, she noted, a                                                               
person doesn't need a questionnaire  to respond - a person seeing                                                               
an ad  can log  on and count  him or herself.   Also,  the bureau                                                               
might be at  a community event with a table  and iPads for people                                                               
to  write on  and send  their responses  directly to  the bureau.                                                               
The bureau  will continue to make  paper questionnaires available                                                               
in  places  such  as  libraries,   post  offices,  and  community                                                               
centers, she said.                                                                                                              
MS. AKERS  SMITH noted  that how the  U.S. Census  Bureau handles                                                               
the delivery  of questionnaires  and the enumeration  of Alaskans                                                               
varies.   In areas where  there is an  address for delivery  to a                                                               
house, the bureau uses postal  delivery.  In areas without postal                                                               
delivery to  the household,  the bureau  canvases the  area, adds                                                               
any  houses not  on its  list, and  then knocks  on the  door and                                                               
conducts an interview.   In Alaska's remote  and sparsely settled                                                               
areas,  she said,  the bureau  does something  very similar,  but                                                               
works  closely with  village leaders  and starts  its enumeration                                                               
activities much earlier.                                                                                                        
MS. AKERS  SMITH said the  third innovation is  using information                                                               
that  the  bureau  already  has  to  reduce  expensive  in-person                                                               
follow-up.     This  data  will   be  used  to   identify  vacant                                                               
households,  determine the  best time  to visit  a household,  or                                                               
count the people and fill in responses with existing high-                                                                      
quality  data from  trusted  sources.   However,  she added,  the                                                               
bureau still plans  to knock on every door, but  the reduction in                                                               
the number of visits will lead to significant cost savings.                                                                     
MS. AKERS SMITH spoke to  the fourth innovation of re-engineering                                                               
field operations.   In  [2010], she  recounted, the  bureau's in-                                                               
person follow-up  was done  mostly using pencil  and paper.   The                                                               
bureau  relied  on  in-person  meetings   with  staff  and  these                                                               
processes were  significant contributors to cost  increases.  For                                                               
the 2020 Census,  however, the bureau plans to  use technology to                                                               
more  efficiently   and  effectively   manage  its   2020  Census                                                               
fieldwork.  The  bureau is re-organizing its  field structure and                                                               
reducing the number of field  offices, she explained.  The bureau                                                               
has an  operation-of-control system  planned that will  assist in                                                               
managing the  work and enabling  more efficient  case assignments                                                               
and optimizing  travel routes,  she said; think  in the  style of                                                               
the United Parcel Service (UPS).                                                                                                
3:33:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. AKERS  SMITH addressed slide  9, "Three Main Reasons  We Miss                                                               
People," and  explained that the  first reason the  bureau misses                                                               
people is  because it doesn't  have their address in  its address                                                               
file.   A  form cannot  be sent  to someone  for whom  the bureau                                                               
doesn't have  an address  and if  the bureau  gets a  response it                                                               
cannot match  the person to  a place on  the ground.   The second                                                               
reason why  the bureau  misses people  is that  it doesn't  get a                                                               
response, she  continued.  The  bureau sends a  questionnaire and                                                               
knocks on  the door,  but no  one answers.   The third  reason is                                                               
that  the  bureau  gets  a partial  response,  the  census  self-                                                               
response only,  so sometimes  children and  unrelated individuals                                                               
don't  get  counted,   or  when  multiple  families   live  in  a                                                               
household, even temporarily, they don't get counted.                                                                            
MS. AKERS SMITH turned to slide  10, "2020 Census Local Update of                                                               
Census  Addresses (LUCA),"  and stated  that regarding  addresses                                                               
missing from the  bureau's address list, there  is an opportunity                                                               
to comment on the bureau's  address list through the Local Update                                                               
of  Census Addresses  (LUCA) program.    The bureau  relies on  a                                                               
complete  and   accurate  list  for  each   living  quarter,  she                                                               
explained, and if  a house is not on the  bureau's list then that                                                               
housing unit  and its associated  population will not  be visited                                                               
or sent a questionnaire.                                                                                                        
MS.  AKERS SMITH  displayed  slide 11,  "Who  Can Participate  in                                                               
LUCA,"  and noted  that those  who  can participate  in the  LUCA                                                               
program include  states, organized boroughs,  incorporated places                                                               
such  as  cities  and towns,  federally  recognized  tribes  with                                                               
reservation  or off-reservation  trust lands,  and Alaska  Native                                                               
regional associations.   When governments  lack the  resources or                                                               
are not eligible to participate,  she said, the bureau encourages                                                               
coordination with participating higher levels of government.                                                                    
MS.  AKERS   SMITH  moved  to  slide   12,  "Confidentiality  and                                                               
Security," and explained that Title  13 of the United States Code                                                               
authorizes  the U.S.  Census Bureau's  work  and provides  strong                                                               
protection for  the information that  it collects.  She  said the                                                               
commitment to  maintain confidentiality and security  is critical                                                               
in gaining,  and crucial  in retaining,  the public's  support of                                                               
the  bureau's work.   Participants,  she  added, must  understand                                                               
that information provided to and  from LUCA falls under Title 13,                                                               
which specifically  requires that the bureau  ensure confidential                                                               
treatment  of census  related  information, including  individual                                                               
addresses and structure coordinates.                                                                                            
3:35:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. AKERS  SMITH addressed  slide 13,  "Preparation    Next Steps                                                               
(Participant)," and  related that  the bureau is  currently doing                                                               
promotional workshops  throughout the  country via  in-person and                                                               
webinar.   The  bureau is  encouraging tribal,  state, and  local                                                               
governments to  put a line  item in  their budgets now  to ensure                                                               
staff and  resources are  allocated for  the address  review that                                                               
begins in February  2018, she said.  The  workshop provides step-                                                               
by-step guidance on  how to prepare for the  program and provides                                                               
suggestions  on how  to prioritize  if a  complete review  is not                                                               
possible.   Drawing  attention  to the  packet  she provided  the                                                               
committee,  she  said there  is  a  LUCA information  guide  that                                                               
highlights  information provided  in  the workshops.   She  noted                                                               
that the guide, a letter regarding  the program, and a request to                                                               
identify a contact person for the  program, were also sent to the                                                               
highest elected officials and governors.                                                                                        
3:37:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  AKERS SMITH  spoke to  slide  25, "Preparation    2020  LUCA                                                               
Schedule."   In January 2017,  she said, the bureau  sent letters                                                               
to the highest elected officials  and currently the bureau is out                                                               
doing its promotional  workshops.  In July 2017,  the bureau will                                                               
mail a LUCA invitation that  includes registration materials.  In                                                               
October  2017 the  bureau will  conduct technical  LUCA workshops                                                               
via in-person workshops  and webinars.  December 15,  2017 is the                                                               
deadline for LUCA registration, she  noted.  Between February and                                                               
April of 2018,  the LUCA materials begin to  ship to participants                                                               
and upon receipt  participants have 120 calendar  days to conduct                                                               
their review  and update the  U.S. Census Bureau's  address list.                                                               
Shortly thereafter,  she continued, the bureau  begins processing                                                               
the LUCA  submission and does  its address  canvassing operation.                                                               
Between August and  September 2019, the bureau  delivers the LUCA                                                               
feedback to participants, which is  the enumeration list that the                                                               
bureau plans on using to conduct the 2020 Census.                                                                               
MS.  AKERS  SMITH  concluded her  presentation  by  thanking  the                                                               
committee,  the Department  of Labor  and Workforce  Development,                                                               
and Liz Brooks who scheduled today's presentation.                                                                              
3:38:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  offered his understanding of  the census as                                                               
it  relates  to allocation  of  congressional  seats.   Regarding                                                               
illegal aliens  and other people  in the country who  can't vote,                                                               
he inquired whether they are  counted and therefore contribute to                                                               
the reallocation of congressional seats.                                                                                        
MS.  AKERS SMITH  replied that  on census  day the  bureau counts                                                               
everyone, no matter  if they are legal or illegal  citizens.  The                                                               
bureau sends them a questionnaire,  and citizenship status is not                                                               
asked  on  the  short-form  questionnaire, she  explained.    The                                                               
short-form  questionnaire asks  age, race,  gender, relationship,                                                               
and tenure.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH posed a scenario  in which half of a state's                                                               
population is there illegally.   He asked whether the U.S. Census                                                               
Bureau has  any way  to distinguish what  that population  is and                                                               
whether the bureau would reallocate  congressional seats based on                                                               
that illegal population.                                                                                                        
MS.  AKERS  SMITH responded  that  the  bureau does  not  collect                                                               
information regarding citizenship or  illegal status.  The bureau                                                               
just counts  the population and  will provide the numbers  to the                                                               
states for redistricting purposes by March 31, 2021.                                                                            
3:40:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  posed a  scenario  in  which a  state  has                                                               
several million  illegal residents  who can't  vote.   He offered                                                               
his understanding  that the census  doesn't have a  mechanism for                                                               
discerning whether people  are reasonably and fairly a  part of a                                                               
state's population for reallocating the congressional seats.                                                                    
MS.  AKERS SMITH  answered, "Yes,  that's true."   States  create                                                               
their  own laws  regarding  redistricting, she  continued, so  it                                                               
would be up  to the states to make the  determination of how they                                                               
would  want to  do  their  redistricting.   For  the census,  she                                                               
added,  the bureau  counts everyone  once in  the right  place no                                                               
matter his or her citizenship status.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH asked  what  the census  questions are  and                                                               
whether  there   is  a  prescription  for   which  questions  are                                                               
permissible, the  level of detail  of the questions,  and whether                                                               
the questions  change from one  census to  the next.   He further                                                               
asked who comes up with  the questions, whether the questions are                                                               
invasive, and what  the obligation is of a  constituent to answer                                                               
all the questions.                                                                                                              
MS.  AKERS SMITH  replied that  the U.S.  Census Bureau  does two                                                               
things.   Every  ten years,  she  explained, the  bureau takes  a                                                               
decennial census that  has only five questions.   She offered her                                                               
belief that  in the  year 2000  the bureau had  two forms,  one a                                                               
long form that asked many  questions and consisted of many pages.                                                               
In 2010, she continued, the bureau  separated the two and now the                                                               
long-form  questionnaire  that   asks  social,  demographic,  and                                                               
economic characteristics  is done  through the  bureau's American                                                               
Community Survey (ACS).   The ACS is done every  year and samples                                                               
three million people.  The  decennial census has been streamlined                                                               
and   asks  only   the  questions   necessary   to  comply   with                                                               
redistricting and other federal laws.                                                                                           
MS. AKERS  SMITH said that  in March [2017] the  bureau published                                                               
recommendations  of  the  questions  it will  ask  for  the  2020                                                               
Census, which are  not going to change, as well  as the questions                                                               
the  bureau  plans  on  asking  through  its  American  Community                                                               
Survey.  This  has been sent to Congress, she  continued, and she                                                               
will  provide  a copy  to  the  committee.   In  preparation  for                                                               
determining  what  questions  will  be asked,  the  bureau  works                                                               
through the Office  of Management and Budget (OMB)  and OMB works                                                               
with  all federal  agencies to  determine what  their data  needs                                                               
are.  Once  that happens, the bureau  aggregates that information                                                               
to determine  the questions that  it needs to  ask.  A  review is                                                               
then done every year so that  if laws change, the bureau can look                                                               
at its questions  and determine whether they are  necessary to be                                                               
asked again.   The  bureau will finalize  the questions  in March                                                               
2018.  She added that the memo  she will copy to the committee is                                                               
interesting in that  it provides every question  the bureau asks,                                                               
why it is asked,  what agency needs it, and how  the data that is                                                               
gathered from that question benefits the community at large.                                                                    
3:44:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  inquired  as  to the  legal  duty  that  a                                                               
citizen must answer the short-form  questionnaire versus the long                                                               
form.   He further inquired  whether a  person has the  option to                                                               
choose not to answer.                                                                                                           
MS. AKERS SMITH  responded that she believes there is  a law that                                                               
requires  a  person  to  answer the  questions,  but  the  bureau                                                               
doesn't  put anyone  in jail  for not  [answering] the  question.                                                               
The bureau  doesn't use the law  to tie anyone's hands  to answer                                                               
the questions.   She  noted that the  bureau attempts  to educate                                                               
the public  by working  with local  governments through  what the                                                               
bureau  calls Complete  Count Committees.   The  bureau met  with                                                               
[Governor Walker's] staff this morning  to request that a contact                                                               
person  be named  for the  bureau to  work with,  she said.   The                                                               
bureau tries  to find  trusted voices in  the community  to carry                                                               
this message over  to help people understand why  it is important                                                               
to answer  the census questionnaire  and respond to  the American                                                               
Community  Survey.   The bureau  tries to  bring it  down to  the                                                               
local level and  tries to find ways in which  the community would                                                               
be more  willing to respond  and participate.  A  community might                                                               
not  care so  much  about apportionment,  she  continued, but  it                                                               
might care  about federal legislation  or community  block grants                                                               
that benefit that  community.  There are some  instances where no                                                               
matter  how hard  the bureau  tries,  it is  not going  to get  a                                                               
response.  It is a very small  number of people, she said, and in                                                               
those cases  the bureau tries  to impute  the data by  looking at                                                               
characteristics  of  the geography  and  the  responses that  are                                                               
received around it.                                                                                                             
3:47:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD admitted  she  is  one of  those                                                               
stubborn people who  didn't want to fill out  all the information                                                               
on the  census sheets.   She said she found  the long form  to be                                                               
very  invasive even  though she  understood what  the bureau  was                                                               
trying to glean.  She related  that some folks in her district in                                                               
Wasilla don't have an address on  their home and no mailbox and a                                                               
walk up the driveway  may result in being greeted by  a dog and a                                                               
gun.  She asked how [Alaska residents]  can have a say in this so                                                               
it  is not  so invasive.   She  added that  she could  understand                                                               
questions related to a person's  age, number of children, and how                                                               
many  children  still live  in  the  home,  but beyond  that  the                                                               
question is how much is too much.                                                                                               
MS. AKERS  SMITH offered her understanding  of the aforementioned                                                               
concerns.   She allowed a  lot of information is  being collected                                                               
these days, such as  when a person is on the  Internet.  She said                                                               
she realizes  that for some people  it is very difficult  to give                                                               
this information  out, especially with  the amount of  fraud that                                                               
occurs.   The  bureau would  like  to work  with legislators  and                                                               
their communities to provide better  education about why it would                                                               
be beneficial to  the community.  That is being  done through the                                                               
bureau's  Complete Count  Committees, she  continued, where  if a                                                               
connection can be found for  why someone should respond, why they                                                               
should give the bureau their  address, and why they should return                                                               
a census  questionnaire, the bureau  will get a  better response.                                                               
That  goes back  to  redistricting, the  Voting  Rights Act,  and                                                               
funding,  she added.    The U.S.  Census  Bureau uses  population                                                               
counts for funding and needs to  find ways to connect with people                                                               
to help them understand why it is important.                                                                                    
3:50:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD   stated  she   understands  the                                                               
aforementioned but  is wondering  if there  is a  different venue                                                               
that the  bureau could use  regarding funding that the  bureau is                                                               
seeking.  She  suggested that there should also be  a piece where                                                               
if  someone  gives  the general  information  they  shouldn't  be                                                               
excluded.   She  said four  different census  people came  to her                                                               
home and  finally the Northwest  director, Sharon  Anderson, came                                                               
up from  California, someone  she knew, and  they sat  and talked                                                               
about it.  There needs to be  a little give and take or leniency,                                                               
she opined.   The  bureau cannot  say that  someone must  do this                                                               
based on federal  funding that is wanted or grants  that might be                                                               
obtained  for  a particular  district  or  across the  state  and                                                               
therefore the questionnaire must be filled out.                                                                                 
3:51:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO recounted  that he worked on the 2000  Census and that                                                               
there  were  questions  about  how   to  make  the  process  more                                                               
efficient.  Utilizing some  statistical techniques was discussed,                                                               
but it was  ultimately pulled back.  Many  discussions took place                                                               
coming up to  2000 about the benefits or detriments  of not being                                                               
fully compliant  with the census.   He worked for  the Department                                                               
of Transportation & Public Facilities at  the time, he said.  The                                                               
big issue for  the department was having an  accurate account for                                                               
the state  because Alaska's population  was a very big  factor in                                                               
how  much  would  be  received from  the  federal  government  in                                                               
federal  highway  program  allocations  as well  as  the  federal                                                               
aviation  program.   Some  of  the  formulas used  the  decennial                                                               
census population to  determine how much money  would be received                                                               
for those programs.  He stated  he appreciates that the long form                                                               
is using  the statistical methods  to estimate who  is responding                                                               
in  what  way.     He  inquired  whether  the   bureau  uses  the                                                               
statistical techniques  and has ways  to ground truth  whether it                                                               
is  projecting  accurate information  from  the  sample of  three                                                               
million people.                                                                                                                 
MS. AKERS SMITH  replied she doesn't know if she  can answer that                                                               
question very  well and  will follow  up with  the chair  in this                                                               
regard.  However, she said,  when projecting information from the                                                               
American  Community  Survey's  annual  sample  of  three  million                                                               
people,  the  bureau aggregates  the  data  over time  to  create                                                               
smaller population estimates so  that the smallest data estimates                                                               
used for the American Community Survey  are the block groups.  In                                                               
the block groups the bureau uses five  years of ACS data to get a                                                               
good estimate.   With each  estimate, she added, the  bureau also                                                               
has a margin  of error that indicates how  accurate or inaccurate                                                               
that data is.   A margin of  error will be given  for every piece                                                               
of data because  some populations can be very, very  small and so                                                               
the margin of error will be very high.                                                                                          
3:54:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  inquired whether  there is a  committee or  a process                                                               
for coming  up with the questions  for the community survey.   He                                                               
recalled Ms. Akers  Smith saying the bureau  has information that                                                               
designates which agency  is requesting the question and  why.  He                                                               
further inquired whether there is  a process for having the group                                                               
of people  come together  and decide which  questions need  to be                                                               
asked in the community survey.                                                                                                  
MS.  AKERS SMITH  confirmed the  bureau  works through  community                                                               
groups  to  gather information  on  the  best  way to  ask  these                                                               
questions.  She  said the package she will  provide the committee                                                               
explains what federal agency is  asking the question and includes                                                               
documentation on the process of  working with community groups to                                                               
come up  with some  of the  questions and to  reword some  of the                                                               
MS. AKERS  SMITH added that  Chair Kito  brought up a  good point                                                               
about some  of the  statistical methods used  by the  U.S. Census                                                               
Bureau.   She noted  that administrative records  are one  of the                                                               
statistical methods  being used for  the 2020 Census;  the bureau                                                               
uses information that it already  must get answers from folks who                                                               
don't return the  questionnaire.  She posed an  example where the                                                               
bureau  sends out  a questionnaire  and  it comes  back from  the                                                               
postal service as  undeliverable as addressed.   The bureau would                                                               
visit the address  to see if it is vacant,  she explained, and if                                                               
it is, then the  bureau wouldn't go back to visit  it again.  She                                                               
related that  in the 2010 Census,  the bureau would go  up to six                                                               
personal visits,  but she  said that is  not being  done anymore.                                                               
Now  the bureau  attempts to  make  a visit  and if  there is  no                                                               
response the bureau will use,  if available, good quality records                                                               
data from  trusted sources that  the bureau already has  with the                                                               
federal  government  or  administrative records  from  states  or                                                               
other organizations,  to determine the status  of that household.                                                               
Thus, she said, the bureau is reducing the number of visits.                                                                    
3:56:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  referenced the  graph showing the  amount of                                                               
over- and undercount.   In regard to counting  the population, he                                                               
asked what  the bureau is comparing  in order to know  whether it                                                               
is over- or undercounting.                                                                                                      
MS.  AKERS  SMITH  responded  that the  bureau  does  a  separate                                                               
operation  independent   of  the  decennial  census   called  the                                                               
Coverage Measurement  Program.   In this program,  she explained,                                                               
the  bureau  samples  a  small   population  that  is  stratified                                                               
throughout the  U.S. and does  a separate operation.   The bureau                                                               
creates  its own  address list,  has  a staff  separate from  the                                                               
regular decennial  census workers, and collects  that information                                                               
separately.  Then, in addition  to personal visits and collecting                                                               
the same information, the bureau  will go back multiple times and                                                               
ask coverage questions,  such as whether there is  anyone that is                                                               
being missed or whether there are  any children in college and in                                                               
dormitories.  Those  results, she continued, are  compared to the                                                               
census  count  to come  up  with  the  over- or  under-  coverage                                                               
3:57:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  referenced  the graph  showing  the  annual                                                               
increase in costs and asked why  the costs are going up given the                                                               
bureau  is getting  away  from paper  and  pencil and  digitizing                                                               
would make it more efficient.                                                                                                   
MS. AKERS SMITH answered that it  is much more difficult to count                                                               
people these days.  The U.S.  is a society that moves around more                                                               
than it  used to 30  years ago and there  are a lot  of different                                                               
living situations  now, she  said.  The  bureau is  spending more                                                               
time,  and therefore  money, trying  to capture  information from                                                               
people because  people aren't aware  of what the census  does and                                                               
the importance  of the census,  and they don't easily  answer the                                                               
census questionnaire.                                                                                                           
3:59:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  recalled that when  he was a child  the 1960                                                               
Census was a  big deal, interesting and fun.   But, he continued,                                                               
in  2010 Census  people  going  door to  door  in Fairbanks  were                                                               
chased away  by individuals who  were sometimes armed.   He asked                                                               
when the  switch occurred from  fun and  friendly to not  fun and                                                               
friendly.  He  further asked when the short  form/long form began                                                               
and whether it saves time and money.                                                                                            
MS. AKERS SMITH  replied she isn't sure when it  changed from fun                                                               
and friendly to  not so fun.  Maybe society  has changed a little                                                               
bit since then, she suggested,  and people are now inundated with                                                               
information and  are asked  to give a  lot of  their information.                                                               
Regarding short  form versus  long form,  she offered  her belief                                                               
that the  2000 Census was the  last time the bureau  did both the                                                               
short and long  forms and probably the last time  the bureau used                                                               
the  long form  data.   The American  Community Survey  (ACS) was                                                               
begun  in 2005  and  that is  now  where the  long  form data  is                                                               
collected.   In  the 2010  Census the  bureau only  collected the                                                               
short  form data,  she  continued,  and in  the  2020 Census  the                                                               
bureau will  also only collect short  form data.  She  added that                                                               
collecting  the long-form  data  was costlier  because folks  who                                                               
received the long form were  more likely not to respond initially                                                               
and  this  lower  response  rate   resulted  in  additional  cost                                                               
attempting  to collect  the  information.   It  was  a very  long                                                               
interview and  if there were 10  people in a household,  it could                                                               
take a very long time to complete that interview.                                                                               
CHAIR  KITO stated  that he  believes  the change  was a  gradual                                                               
process.   In  the 1970s,  he recalled,  social security  numbers                                                               
were used  for a lot  of things.   Other people getting  ahold of                                                               
social security  numbers was not  that big  in the 1970s,  but it                                                               
was  a bit  more  in the  1980s  and  was big  in  the 1990s  and                                                               
individuals became  much more  concerned about  the proliferation                                                               
of their  personal data.   He offered  his belief that  the shift                                                               
occurred between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses.                                                                                    
4:03:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL offered  his understanding  that anyone  who                                                               
gets the 2020  Census will get the short form  of five questions,                                                               
and that the long form is a different survey.                                                                                   
4:04:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  agreed  that  the  census  used  to  be  a                                                               
pleasant  and monumental  experience.   He  inquired whether  the                                                               
data  from  census  forms is  available  to  researchers  without                                                               
attribution.  He further inquired  whether the data is accessible                                                               
to folks that  the government wants it accessible to,  even if it                                                               
isn't  tied back  to a  specific  individual.   He also  inquired                                                               
whether the data is aggregated after it is gathered.                                                                            
MS. AKERS SMITH responded yes,  the bureau takes data and removes                                                               
all personally  identifiable information from the  data, mixes it                                                               
up somewhat  and makes  it available  to researchers  through the                                                               
bureau's  public use  micro-data samples  and this  happens right                                                               
after the census.                                                                                                               
4:05:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  asked whether there are  things that need to  be done                                                               
at the state level right now.                                                                                                   
MS. AKERS  SMITH answered that  there are  a few things  that the                                                               
U.S. Census  Bureau would like  the state to  do.  The  bureau is                                                               
going to be  doing a national campaign and is  going to start its                                                               
outreach, she  said.  A  partnership specialist has  already been                                                               
hired who has experience working  the 2010 Census as a recruiting                                                               
assistant in  remote Alaska  areas.   This specialist  is working                                                               
directly with Native  Alaskan and village areas  and is currently                                                               
in  the field  communicating  with the  local  governments.   The                                                               
bureau  would like  to  see  the state  participate  in the  LUCA                                                               
program any  way it can,  she continued, whether it  is reviewing                                                               
addresses or encouraging local governments  to participate in the                                                               
program  and to  review their  address lists.   Next,  the bureau                                                               
needs to  take its message to  the local level and  help Alaskans                                                               
understand  why it  is important  to conduct  the census  and who                                                               
better  to tell  Alaskans  than  other Alaskans.    She said  the                                                               
bureau wants  to work with  communities and needs someone  at the                                                               
executive level to help create  what the bureau calls a "Complete                                                               
Count  Committee."    That  committee  works  with  the  bureau's                                                               
partnership  staff  and  that helps  direct  different  types  of                                                               
campaigns to get  information out about the census and  why it is                                                               
important.   She pointed out  that the committee  packet includes                                                               
copies of legislation  that has been passed by the  states of New                                                               
York   and  Illinois   and  which   established  Complete   Count                                                               
Committees.  She said the bureau  further requests a line item in                                                               
the  state's  budget,  so  the  state can  support  work  of  the                                                               
Complete Count Committee.                                                                                                       
CHAIR KITO thanked  Ms. Akers Smith and said he  looks forward to                                                               
working with her.                                                                                                               
4:08:33 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Labor and  Commerce Standing Committee  meeting was  adjourned at                                                               
4:08 p.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Presentation-US Census 2020 Akers Smith 4.25.17.pdf HL&C 4/26/2017 3:15:00 PM