Lawmakers approve spending $1 million for the 2020 census

2020 Census

Utah legislators will budget $1 million for Census work next year, the Executive Appropriations Committee decided Monday evening.

Lawmakers are meeting in a special session Monday night to give former GOP Attorney General John Swallow $1.5 million for his legal bills after Swallow was found not guilty at a trial several years ago, charged with various felonies.

They will also make changes to Utah’s fledgling medical marijuana law.

The $1 million for the Census comes in $500,000 for citizen outreach and $500,000 in grants to local governments in their efforts to get citizens to fill out Census forms, which for the first time will be all electronic.

All kinds of federal funds are tied to official Census numbers.

But beyond that, said Rep. Karen Kwon, D-Murray, who worked on getting the money from the GOP-controlled Legislature.

The state uses Census numbers in all kinds of budget-making — for public schools, research in genealogy, in marketing, and distributing state tax dollars to local government and agencies.

The state gets nearly $6 billion a year from the federal government, much of it tied to official Census population numbers.

Kwan said an undercount could easily cost Utah “many, many millions.”