As the sponsor of legislation aimed at creating a Complete Count Committee for the 2020 U.S. Census, state Senator Bobby Powell, Jr. (D-Palm Beach) on Monday joined state Senator Victor Torres (D-Orlando) in his call to have Governor Ron DeSantis create a similar committee through executive order. In 2009, then Governor Charlie Christ issued Executive Order 09-41 which created a Statewide Census Count Committee to ensure that Florida received the most accurate population count during the 2020 Census.
“It cannot be understated how critical a complete and accurate count is for our state,” said Powell. “In 2016, Florida received over 44 billion dollars through federal spending programs that were guided by data derived from the 2010 census. That means for every one thousand persons counted, the state will be eligible for 15 to 20 million dollars in available resources. It’s time for us to get serious about the census and I hope that the Governor will join this effort by establishing the Complete Count Committee.”
Senator Powell sponsored Senate Bill 912 during the 2019 legislative session, which would have established a committee that would include state and local government officials as well as community leaders from every corner of the state. The committee would be responsible for coordinating available resources and developing outreach strategies to encourage full participation in the census and achieve the most accurate count possible. Unfortunately, that legislation was never given a hearing.
“Florida stands at the crossroads,” said Powell. “We can continue to bury our heads in the sand, risking an undercount of our residents and the billions of dollars that could be at stake, or we can take proactive steps to ensure that everyone is counted. I trust that we will make the right decision.”