2020 Census: It's time to participate

Sen. Short Banner

May 8, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Since my last newsletter, many of you have shared concerns regarding the governor’s unlimited broad authority and whether it is constitutional. While I share these concerns, to date broad emergency powers such as those found in our state laws, have largely gone unchallenged. To pass a law that would limit the governor’s authority would require a vote by the legislature during a legislative session – which I am absolutely in favor of! I support a process that would require additional legislative involvement with the governor’s decision making if an emergency lasted beyond a certain period of time.

While the governor’s powers may change in the future, my immediate focus is to work as hard as I can to get Governor Inslee to change his current course. I have long-thought that a regional type of reopening could be done safely. While I do not believe that a state-wide shut down should continue, I am grateful that there is a process where counties with fewer than 75,000 residents can apply to the state Department of Health to reopen sooner. While I support the opportunity for these counties to open, I believe counties such as Spokane and Okanogan possess the tools to safely reopen for business as well.

While the governor has complete authority in state law regarding his stay home orders without legislative involvement, I won’t give up until our freedom to work, worship and get back to life are restored! In the beginning, I agreed that “temporary” actions were necessary to ensure that hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Now that we have more data, it is clear that a large majority of the state has exceeded the original goal. There is no rhyme or reason for so many counties and communities throughout the state to continue to be shut down. I have faith that local residents, businesses, and community leaders can move forward safely.


Don’t wait to seek medical care

Health care officials are warning that conditions left untreated can worsen, making them more difficult to treat, or even become life threatening. If you have a medical issue that is COVID-19 related or not, please do not hesitate to seek medical care. Our state’s health care professionals are taking the necessary steps to keep you safe and are available to care for you. If going into a medical facility is not possible for you, many providers are offering virtual appointments, allowing patients to see their providers at home to determine if a physical visit to a hospital or clinic is necessary.


2020 Census – Please Participate!

While the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus and the shutdown have been front and center for all of us, I’d like to remind you that we are also in the middle of the 2020 Census. Because of COVID-19, chances are that you will not have someone knock on your door this year. Therefore, we need to be proactive and fill out the form online.

The United States Constitution mandates that the country conduct a count of its population once every 10 years. The 2020 Census will mark the 24th time that the country has counted its population since 1790.

The results of this once-a-decade count determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. They are also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts. As of May 1, the 7th Legislative District has the lowest census response rate in the state. If this trend continues, King County will get more power in our State Legislature.

Census results will also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, and block grants for community mental health services, to name a few.

The 2020 Census results will inform decisions about allocating federal funding to communities across the country—for hospitals, fire departments and other critical programs and services.

By now, you should have received an invitation to participate by mail. If you haven’t already, be sure to respond to the Census Bureau with your information by filling out the questionnaire form, by calling 844-330-2020 or going online. I know these are trying times, but please take 10 minutes to respond. For more information go to www.2020census.gov to learn more. Please ensure your communities aren’t left behind.


Contact me

My office is here for you during this unprecedented time. If there is anything I can do for you, please call or send me an email.

Email: Shelly.Short@leg.wa.gov

Phone: (360) 786-7612