ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that Florida would form a statewide committee that helps raise awareness about the upcoming 2020 Census.
Florida was one of the last states in the nation without one.
Complete count committees help encourage residents to participate in the once-a-decade head count of the U.S. population. Municipalities and nonprofits in Florida had formed their own complete count committees, but the U.S. Census Bureau encouraged states to form statewide committees to help coordinate efforts.
The 2020 Census starts in two weeks in a remote area of Alaska. The rest of the nation takes part starting in March.
The count will help determine how many congressional seats each state gets and the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending. Forecasters say Florida could gain as many as two congressional seats.
DeSantis said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez would chair Florida’s complete count committee.
“The U.S. Census provides critical information to ensure our citizens are being well-served,” Nunez said in a statement. “”As the third most populous state in the nation, with an incredibly diverse population, I look forward to working with leaders and stakeholders across the Sunshine State to ensure the voices of our residents are heard during this important process.”
The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email inquiry about the timing of the decision to form a committee.