SANTA FE — A bipartisan proposal to provide emergency funding aimed at boosting participation in the census is on its way to the governor’s desk.
The state House on Wednesday voted 68-0 in favor of Senate Bill 4, which would make an extra $8 million immediately available for census outreach efforts.
Rep. Susan Herrera, D-Embudo, said it’s critical for New Mexico to target hard-to-count populations because the state stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for each percentage point of an undercount.
“Everbody counts in New Mexico,” Herrera said.
The census helps determine how much federal funding flows to the state, and it’s used to determine representation in Congress.
Supporters say the outreach effort is crucial in New Mexico — a state that relies heavily on federal funding but also has traditionally undercounted communities, such as Native Americans and rural residents.
The legislation already passed the Senate and will now head to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Senate Bill 4 is jointly sponsored by Herrera, Republican Sen. William Burt of Alamogordo and Democratic Sen. Liz Stefanics of Cerrillos.
It’s just the second bill this session to clear both chambers and be sent to the governor. The other was the “feed bill” that pays for legislative staffers and other costs of the session itself.