Utah representatives still trying to get missionaries counted

Utah representatives still trying to get missionaries counted

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's three representatives are trying to force the U.S. Census Bureau to count missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving overseas in 2010. The issue is enumeration, which determines the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives.

In 2000, the omission cost Utah a fourth seat in the U.S. House. Utah was short only 857 people for a seat that went to North Carolina instead.

The Census Bureau is not planning on counting missionaries next year, either.

"Prior to 1960, those living abroad were counted," said Rep. Rob Bishop on the Doug Wright Show on KSL Newsradio.

Bishop, along with Rep. Jim Matheson and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, has co-sponsored a bill that would force the Census Bureau to count missionaries.

"There is no statutory prohibition for the Census Bureau doing it today," Bishop claimed.

Bishop also sees a double standard.

"In the military, you may not live or pay taxes in the state in which you are counted for representation purposes."

Missionaries are subject to taxes, yet are not counted as far as representation.

The Census Bureau says there's no way to reliably count overseas missionaries. A 2004 experiment counting Americans abroad was described by the government as a "colossal failure."

E-mail: athomas@ksl.com

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