This bill, developed in partnership with partner organization Muslim Americans in Public Service (MAPS), is a part of Inclusive America’s initiative to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of religious identity. It is an adaptation of the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act (H.R.4176/S.2287) and the Federal Evidence Agenda on LGBTQI+ Equity. See our companion Executive Order.
To improve Federal populations surveys by requiring the collection of voluntary, self-disclosed information on religious belief and affiliation in certain surveys, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. Short title.
This Act may be cited as the “Religious Identity Data Inclusion Act”.
SEC. 2. Findings.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) Pursuant to Executive Order 13279 (Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations) and Executive Order 14035 (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce), the promotion of religious inclusion includes the data collection and analysis on employees’ self-reported religious belief and affiliation to measure demographic representation and diversity.
(2) Comprehensive statistics are needed to inform public policy and Federal programs.
(3) The availability of data also has a critical role in ensuring that any disparities in areas like health outcomes, housing, and employment can be addressed.
(4) The integrity of the Federal statistical system relies on the ability of agencies to determine the content of their statistical surveys based on considerations of relevance, timeliness, accuracy, objectivity, and ability to maintain confidentiality.
SEC. 3. Requirement to collect data on religious belief and affiliation.
(a) Survey requirement.—Not later than 360 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the head of any agency that collects information through a covered survey for statistical purposes shall establish data standards that require, with regard to the survey, the following:
(1) REVIEW.—The review of covered surveys to determine in which surveys information about religious belief and affiliation is not included.
(2) METHODS.—An identification of appropriate methods to include questions on religious belief and affiliation in covered surveys that facilitate categorization and voluntary participation and preserve privacy and confidentiality, including protocols for anonymizing data collected and destroying personally-identifiable information at the appropriate time and not later than three years after the date on which the information is collected.
(3) DATA COLLECTION.—The use of the appropriate methods identified in paragraph (2) to gather data on religious belief and affiliation for any survey identified in paragraph (1).
(4) ASSESSMENT.—The implementation of a process to routinely assess needed changes in covered survey methods related to asking questions on religious belief and affiliation.
(b) Data reports; waiver.—
(1) DATA REPORTS.—Not later than 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, any report published by an agency that relies on covered survey demographic data shall include information on religious belief and affiliation.
(2) WAIVER.—The statistical official (as described in section 314 of title 5, United States Code) of each agency, or the head of the agency, for any agency that does not have a statistical official, may waive the requirement under paragraph (1), on a case-by-case basis, if the standards and policies in subsection (c) can not be met, or if adding such information to the survey would impair the ability of the agency to preserve the utility, accuracy, or objectivity of the survey while also generating relevant evidence about
(c) Confidentiality.—Any information collected relating to the religious belief and affiliation of a covered survey participant shall be maintained in accordance with applicable confidentiality and privacy laws, policies, and standards.
(d) Construction.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require an individual to disclose their religious belief and affiliation to an agency.
(e) Report.—Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall provide a report to Congress on the implementation of the requirements of this Act by agencies, including how the implementation of such requirements by agencies affected the provision of services to persons according to the religious belief and affiliation of the persons.
(f) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the use of information collected under this section in a manner that would adversely affect any individual, or that is inconsistent with disclosure limitations established in any other law.
(g) Definitions.—In this section:
(1) AGENCY.—The term “agency” has the meaning given that term in section 551 of title 5, United States Code.
(2) COVERED SURVEY.—The term “covered survey” means a survey that includes demographic data in which—
(A) a subject self-reports information; or
(B) a knowledgeable proxy (including a proxy of a deceased individual, if applicable) provides information about the subject or responds for all individuals in a household.
(3) DEMOGRAPHIC DATA.—The term “demographic data” means information about the race or ethnicity, sex, age, and religious belief and affiliation of a survey participant or population.
(4) RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND AFFILIATION.—The term “religious belief and affiliation” means the self-identification and association with aspects of religious observance and practice, as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
(5) RELIGIOUS MINORITIES.— The term “religious minorities” means religious groups that represent less than 5% of the total United States population. Examples include, but are not limited to, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.
(6) SURVEY.—The term “survey” means a data collection activity involving a questionnaire for a sample of a population and includes the decennial census.
Coalition of Supporters
Along Inclusive America, the following organizations have shared support for the proposed Religious Inclusion Act.