Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced H.R. 1078, a bill that would make the American Community Survey voluntary. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the companion bill in the Senate.
Under the Constitution, the federal government must conduct a Census every ten years to account for the population. To do so, the decennial Census includes ten basic questions. However, the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to issue an annual, mandatory survey to 3 million Americans, called the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS asks each recipient 48 personal questions about mental disabilities in the home, personal financial information, whether you have a toilet and what time you leave for and return from work each day. Under current law, those who choose not to respond to the ACS are threatened with a criminal penalty.
"The Federal Government has no right to force Americans to tell the government personal information that they are uncomfortable providing just because the federal government says so, said Rep. Poe. "I have heard from countless Texans who are uncomfortable with the American Community Survey's intrusive questions, but they feel intimidated and forced to participate because of the threat of a criminal penalty. Penalizing private citizens for not filling out a government-mandated survey is an abuse of government power."
"This bill seeks to protect citizens and addresses concerns about the level of personal information collected by the American Community Survey," Senator Paul (R-KY) said. " By making this survey voluntary, people would have the opportunity to decide what, if any, information they share with the government."