Governor signs order for census Complete Count Committee

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Governor Steve Sisolak has signed Executive Order 2019-06 to establish Nevada’s Complete Count Committee, with the goal of ensuring every Nevadan is counted in the 2020 Census. Census Day is April 1, 2020.

Photo courtesy Governor's Office

“Nevada’s Complete Count Committee will oversee all outreach and coordination among public and private sector organizations in the state to encourage Nevadans to participate in the 2020 census,” Sisolak says. “Over the next 17 months, Nevada’s committee will oversee the state’s entire complete count effort to ensure that every Nevadan is counted, every community is adequately represented in our state legislature and in Congress, and every available dollar goes toward funding services for Nevada’s communities.”

Here are Governor Sisolak’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning and thank you all for coming as we discuss an important step our state is taking today to ensure that every Nevadan is counted in the 2020 census.

Before we get started I’d like to acknowledge a few folks with us today. Thank you to Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, State Treasurer Zach Conine, Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, Speaker Jason Frierson, Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer, and Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler for joining us today.

I’d like to also acknowledge the members of the legislature who are here today for their work on the Complete Count Committee. Thank you for your commitment to ensuring every Nevadan is counted.

I’d also like to thank Emily Zamora of Silver State Voices, who will speak in a few minutes about the importance of counting our diverse communities here in Nevada.

In a few minutes, I’ll be signing an executive order to establish Nevada’s Complete Count Committee, which will oversee all outreach and coordination among public and private sector organizations in the state to encourage Nevadans to participate in the 2020 census.

Today is significant because we’re exactly one year out from Census Day, April 1, 2020 – the day that the U.S. Census Bureau will record where each person in the country lives.

The census is essential to ensuring that the federal government is meeting the needs of its people by:
Allocating federal dollars equitably;
Determining the correct number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives each state receives;
And updating the boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts to account for population shifts over time.

Nevada has experienced a population boom in recent years, which is why it’s more important than ever that each and every Nevadan be counted. From July 2010 to July 2018, Nevada added over 300,000 people to its population – that’s a growth of over 12 percent.

From 2017 to 2018, Nevada was the fastest-growing state in the country, with a 2.1 percent increase in population.

Our population is incredibly diverse, which is why it’s important to ensure everyone is counted so we can make sure federal dollars go towards the communities who need it most and those communities that are often under-counted, which Emily will talk more about.

At stake this census are more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties, and communities based on census data. That money goes toward schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and other vital programs.

Nevada will rely on the 2020 census to determine funding needs for infrastructure projects, economic development programs, job training, schools, and other activities for the next decade.

And there’s a lot at stake. For example, in Fiscal Year 2016, Nevada received over $6.2 billion from the federal government based on its 2010 census count. Some of these vital programs included:
$2.6 billion for Medicaid
$681 million for SNAP and WIC, which provide nutrition assistance for low-income families, single mothers, and children
$120 million for Title I grants to local school districts
$357 million for highway planning and construction
And much, much more.

On the flip side, Nevada risks losing out on at least tens of millions in federal dollars if our population is undercounted in the 2020 census.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services distributes five major grant programs based directly on census counts. These include Medicaid, CHIP, foster care and adoption assistance, and child care assistance to low-income families.

Just a one percent undercount can have drastic effects on our funding for these critical programs. A one percent larger undercount during our 2010 census would have meant a loss of nearly $17 million for these five HHS grant programs in 2015 alone – that’s $170 million per decade for essential health care and child welfare programs.

We simply can’t afford to leave any household uncounted. Success of the census – and a complete and accurate count of every Nevadan – depends on community involvement at every level.

That’s why I’m establishing Nevada’s Complete Count Committee today. Complete Count Committees are volunteer committees established by tribal, state, and local governments and community leaders or organizations to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census.

The committee will work to develop a Complete Count Plan to include proposed education, outreach, and promotional activities for Nevada’s census, as well as funding needs to ensure as complete a count as possible of all Nevadans, including strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and areas.

Over the next 17 months, Nevada’s committee will oversee the state’s entire complete count effort to ensure that every Nevadan is counted, every community is adequately represented in our state legislature and in Congress, and every available dollar goes toward funding services for Nevada’s communities.

And to demonstrate my commitment to ensuring every Nevadan is counted in the 2020 Census, I’ve included $5 million in my budget for Nevada’s complete count efforts.

And with that, I will now sign the executive order to create Nevada’s Complete Count Committee.