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SpatialNews Press Release

Commerce Secretary Sends Veto Message on Legislation to Change Census Confidentiality Law

Last night, Commerce Secretary Norman Y. Mineta sent a letter to Members of Congress expressing "strong opposition to any attempt to force the disclosure of personal census information currently protected by the confidentiality provisions of Title 13." Secretary Mineta further writes: "The adoption of these changes with no public debate runs the very serious risk of undermining the public's confidence in the privacy of census information."

The language may be attached to any one of a number of last-minute, must-pass bills which the Congress will consider as early as today. The amendment would allow an arm of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to acquire confidential census data collected in monthly surveys, including the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

"I will recommend a Presidential veto of the legislation." Mineta wrote in his letter to Congress.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt has publicly expressed his opposition to the CBO legislation, saying that no amendment to Title 13 should be considered by the Congress without public discussion, congressional testimony and a deliberative process which fully debates the consequences of such a change.

Patricia Woodward
Karen Cowles

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