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The ACS is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), Sections 141 and 193, and response is required by law. According to Section 221, persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amend Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.
In 1995, the Bureau began the process of changing the means of obtaining the demographic, housing, social, and economic information from the census long form to the ACS. Testing began in 1996, and the ACS program began producing test data in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The survey was fully implemented in 2005. The following year, the Census Bureau released estimates for all areas with populations of 65,000 or more using the data collected from January to December 2005. In 2010, The ACS produced its first set of estimates for areas of all population sizes, using information collected from January 2005 through December 2009.
The Chamber of Commerce, for example, strongly advocates funding them, since its members rely so much on the information they provide on basic things such as household spending, per capita income, and population estimates. The ACS is of particular value to them, says Martin Regalia, Commerce’s chief economist. “It is especially important to some of our bigger members for trying to understand geographic distinctions and other granularity in the economy.”
In practice, there is little difference between these sources of law. All of them can be binding and enforceable. However, there's also a hierarchy of the sources of law, which can change exactly how enforceable each one is. For example, the United States Code cannot overturn anything in the United States Constitution, and Agency Rules and Regulations cannot change anything in the United States Code. Finally, judicial precedent only seeks to clarify the impact and meaning of the Constitution, Code, and Regulations, and cannot change the Code itself unless it violates the Constitution, or the Regulations unless they violate the Code.