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House bill would limit census
Posted By Julie Foster On 04/21/2000 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
In response to concerns expressed by her constituents, Rep. Helen
Chenoweth-Hage, R-Idaho, introduced
legislation to simplify census forms, returning the decennial headcount
to its “original Constitutional intent.”
H.R. 4198 declares “the sole purpose of
the decennial enumeration of the population … is to allow for the
apportionment of Representatives in Congress.”
Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage is seeking to return the decennial
The bill further asserts “the only information needed in order to
carry out that purpose are the names, ages, and the number of
individuals residing in a household, and the address or location of such
Additionally, the measure limits statutory fines — found in US Code
13, Section 221 — to apply only when those specific questions are left
Americans have become increasingly disgruntled with questions
irrelevant to enumeration, particularly those included on the “long
“The long form is a lottery,” said Chenoweth-Hage. “The lucky winner
who receives the form must decide whether he wants to answer intrusive
questions or face legal penalties for failing to do so.”
Her bill is designed so that, should irrelevant questions continue to
be included on census forms, participants will be legally responsible
for answering only inquiries related to apportionment of congressional
“Clearly the census has moved away from the system of counting each
American as required by the Constitution,” Chenoweth-Hage continued.
“Now the census appears to categorize, sort and register people. It is
the antithesis of a democratic society.”
The Census Bureau has spent vast
resources on its ad campaign promoting census participation, telling
Americans they will not get their “fair share” of federal funding if
they do not return completed forms.
Indeed, various government entities use Census Bureau statistics to
determine how taxpayer money is doled out
Keith Rupp, Chenoweth’s chief of staff, said government programs need
demographics to properly distribute tax dollars. However, he added that
penalties should not apply to those types of questions.
Rupp told WND arguments over intrusive census questions can be boiled
down to the fundamental role of government.
Census information will be used for the redistribution of wealth –
an improper use of government power, Rupp said.
“This bill addresses the proper role of the census, which is for
reapportionment of representatives,” he concluded.
Chenoweth-Hage’s bill must be heard in both the House Government
Reform and Judiciary Committees before it can be considered by the full
Congress, although no hearing date has yet been set.
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