By Christi Zamarripi
It seems like everywhere you turn, all you hear is talk about partisanship and the political divide.
Oklahoma, however, has demonstrated how the political parties can work together for substantive bipartisan cooperation that will benefit their state. Senate leaders from both parties joined to form a Senate-specific 2020 Complete Count Committee (CCC).
This is the first chamber-specific census outreach effort in the nation, as far as NCSL knows. Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R) and Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd (D) announced this bipartisan effort to support the 2020 census.
"Increasing our participation rate in the census will provide a more accurate count and has the potential to increase the federal dollars for transportation, education, health care, and other important programs in Oklahoma," Treat said. "The Oklahoma Senate and its members will work to encourage higher participation in the 2020 census through the Complete Count Committee.”
Oklahoma has a statewide CCC created earlier this year through an executive order. The motivation? A below-accurate count can hurt the state’s bottom line because many federal funds are distributed based on census data.
“When Oklahoma taxpayers send their hard-earned dollars to Washington, they expect to receive a fair share of funding from federal programs in return,” Floyd said. “That is not possible without an accurate census count in Oklahoma. This is why members of the Oklahoma Senate are working together on a bipartisan effort to encourage our constituents to participate in the 2020 census.”
Is the Oklahoma Senate setting a trend? We’ll know in the new year. See NCSL’s webpage on census legislation and resources for more information on the census.
Christi Zamarripa is a policy associate with NCSL’s Elections and Redistricting Program.