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State Capitol Week in Review – September 18, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – Census workers across Arkansas will be knocking on doors until the end of September in a last-ditch effort to make sure that as many people as possible get counted in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Undercounting the population of a state or community has long-term negative consequences, because the benefits of so many government programs are allocated according to census data. For example, an undercount of as little as one percent would mean the loss of a billion dollars in federal funding in Arkansas over the next ten years.

The potential loss of federal dollars would have a negative effect on Medicaid, food stamp programs, highway maintenance and construction, education and the availability of childcare subsidies.

Census workers are visiting homes in communities that traditionally have been hard to reach. Sometimes they leave packets on doorsteps if they are unable to contact anyone in the home. However, it’s not necessary to wait for a census worker to visit your house. You can fill out the census over the phone in about 10 minutes. Call 844-330-2020. After you have completed the census, encourage everyone you know to complete it.

The census is conducted every 10 years, and this is the first time that a majority of people will complete it online. You can fill out the form online by going to Your personal information will be kept confidential. Also, you will not be asked financial questions, such as bank account numbers or credit card numbers. You will not be asked for your Social Security number either. You will not be asked for money and you will not be questioned about your political opinions.

If you suspect that you have been contacted by a deceptive outfit that is trying to defraud you, check out the address of their website. The address of a valid census web page will always have “gov” at the end.

Nationwide, 65.9 percent of the population have already responded to the census on their own volition. In Arkansas, 60 percent have responded by telephone, Internet or traditional mail.

Helping Our Neighbors

Twenty firefighters from Arkansas, including five employees of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, are fighting wildfires in Oregon.

Crews in California, Oregon and Washington have been pushed to the breaking point battling wildfires on more than 2 million acres this year.

In addition to the five employees of the state Forestry Division, the so-called “Razorback Crew” has eight Arkansas employees from the U.S Forest Service, two from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two from the National Parks Service, and three from of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Two other employees of the state Forestry Division recently returned from California, where they helped battle wildfires.

The legislature created the Forestry Division in 1931 to protect state woodlands from fire and other natural hazards. State forestry officials estimate that since 1935 they have helped put out more than 225,000 forest fires.

After tornadoes and ice storms, Forestry Division employees help clear roadways for emergency vehicles, and set up command centers for first responders.

It also has a nursery in North Little Rock, from which it provides low-costs seedlings to Arkansas residents for reforestation projects.


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