SECTION 1. The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting after Chapter 57 the following new Chapter:-
Chapter 57A – Census Accuracy
Section 1. There is hereby established, within the office of the Secretary of State, the Massachusetts Census Equality Task Force, hereinafter called the task force.
(a)The purpose of the task force shall be to ensure that Massachusetts censuses produce an accurate count of all residents of the Commonwealth, including but not limited to:
(1)homeless individuals and residents of shelters
(2)immigrants, both documented and undocumented who may be initially unwilling to complete the census due to fear of deportation of themselves, family, or friends
(3)residents who do not speak English
(5)individuals with disabilities
(b)The task force shall be comprised of: The Secretary of State, or his or her designee, who shall serve as chair; The Attorney General, or his or her designee; The Senate Chair of the Committee on Election Laws, or his or her designee; the House Chair of the Committee on Election Laws, or his or her designee; The Senate Chair of the Committee on Redistricting, or his or her designee; the House Chair of the Committee on Redistricting, or his or her designee; The Senate Minority Leader, or his or her designee; the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, or his or her designee; The Executive Director of the Asian American Commission, or his or her designee; a representative from Citizen Information Service (CIS); a representative from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; the Director of the Department of Public Safety, or his or her designee; the Director of the Department of Veterans Services (DVS), or his or her designee; The Commissioner of the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), or his or her designee; a representative from the Public Records Division; a representative from the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; a representative from the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance, a representative from Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), a representative from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), a representative from the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center; a representative from the Massachusetts Alliance of YMCAs;
(c)The task force shall be responsible for creating a statewide public awareness campaign to educate the general public on the importance of the census and the necessity of ensuring a complete and proper count.
(d)The task force shall investigate barriers to proper counting of all residents of the Commonwealth and assess the Commonwealth’s progress in preparing for upcoming censuses. Said assessment shall include but not be limited to efforts designed to accurately count all populations.
(e)The chair may appoint subcommittees in order to expedite the work of the commission;
(f)The task force shall meet at least monthly, for the 24 months before a census, and at least quarterly otherwise, or as frequently as the chair recommends.
(g)The task force shall file an annual report, on or before January 1, with the governor, the secretary of state, the attorney general, the joint committee on election laws, and the joint committee on redistricting including any recommendations for regulatory and legislative action necessary to ensure an accurate count of all Massachusetts residents in upcoming censuses and to provide and sustain fairness in census counting. The task force shall monitor the implementation of its recommendations and update recommendations to reflect current research and statewide census needs as necessary.
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