U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation that would make participation in the American Community Survey (ACS) voluntary. The ACS, also known as the "long-form census" is sent out to millions of people every year in addition to the decennial census -- however, the ACS is not required by the Constitution. The ACS is sent out to approximately 300,000 people per month and it's both time-consuming and invasive. Under federal law, if you fail to complete the survey there is a threat of criminal penalties for non-compliance.
"This legislation addresses the concerns of constituents who have contacted my office to express concern about the American Community Survey," Sen. McConnell said. "Their primary concern is over the level of personal information that the survey collects and that they face actual criminal sanction if they prefer not to respond. This legislation will make the survey voluntary and will give Kentuckians more freedom as to what information they share while completing it."
"This bill seeks to protect citizens and addresses concerns about the level of personal information collected by the American Community Survey," Sen. Paul said. "By making this survey voluntary, people would have the opportunity to decide what, if any, information they share with the government."
According to Sen. Paul's office, the survey asks 48 questions regarding race, relationship to those in the house, ancestry, disabilities, education, fertility, and marital history and status. They additionally require you to report how much you pay for utilities, insurance, and rent, as well as whether or not you have running water and a toilet that flushes. Also asked is, if you work, where you work, when you go to and return from work, how often you work, what you do while you're there, and how much you make. The legislation will have no impact on the decennial census.