Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



State Government, Elections & Information Technology Committee

HJM 4015

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning census funding.

Sponsors: Representatives Senn, McDonald, Hudgins, Eslick, Gregerson, Valdez, Kagi, Graves, Ormsby, Riccelli, Goodman, Frame, Stanford, Chapman, Stonier, Bergquist, Tarleton, Santos, Doglio, Macri and Slatter.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requests Congress to provide adequate funding for the 2020 decennial census and that a new director of the federal Census Bureau is appointed.

Hearing Date: 1/30/18

Staff: Sean Flynn (786-7124).


The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 2, mandates the government to conduct a national census every 10 years. The census data determines the proportional representation of each state in the House of Representatives. The Census data also is provided to the states to redistrict congressional and legislative districts and is used to allocate federal funding, including grants and services provided to the states. In Washington, the census data is submitted to the state Redistricting Commission to create the state's redistricting plan.

The federal Census Bureau administers the decennial census and conducts ongoing planning in preparation for each census. The Census Bureau is currently planning to conduct a comprehensive test run before the official census counting begins in April 2020. The Director of the Census Bureau resigned in June 2017.

The Census Bureau receives funding for the census from the United States Department of Commerce through congressional appropriation. In October 2017, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce testified before Congress to request additional funding for the 2020 census.

Summary of Bill:

The Legislature urges Congress to immediately provide adequate funding for the 2020 census and appoint a new Director of the Census Bureau.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.