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Rep. Bishop proposing bill to include Mormon missionaries in census

WASHINGTON D.C. – A renewed push to make big changes to the U.S. Census.  First District Representative Rob Bishop is asking for other lawmakers in D.C. to back legislation that would count missionaries serving overseas.

Even though we have four congressional seats now, the loss of getting a fourth in 2000 still has a slight sting to Congressman Rob Bishop.  We lost the seat to North Carolina by just over 850 people, and Bishop says, “We had, at least, 11 thousand Mormon missionaries who were not counted simply because they were outside of the U.S., at the time.”

It’s not just missionaries that are left out of the census.  Bishop says anyone working in the private sector, like overseas business people, aren’t counted.  He believes there’s no logical reason for that to be the case.  “If you can identify where these people are, they should be counted,” says Bishop.  He also says that this is especially unacceptable since some people serving abroad, like military members and government workers, are accounted for.  “If you’re doing it for some, you might as well do it for as many as humanly possible,” he adds.

It’s unclear if Utah’s population is large enough to merit a fifth seat after the census is taken, but, “Even if it doesn’t give us an extra congressman, and that happens rarely when people are on that bubble, it does impact the revenues that go to every city, which are based on the population,” Bishop says.

The language of the legislation calls on the changes to take effect for the 2030 census, but, Bishop tells KSL’s Doug Wright Show that if it moves through Congress quickly enough, it could happen during the 2020 census.  Utah’s other three representatives are backing the measure.

(Photo Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News, file)