ST. PAUL, MN – On Thursday, the Minnesota Senate passed a two-year state government budget that funds the state’s veterans and military affairs services and honors Minnesota’s ongoing commitment to the state’s veterans.
“Respecting and honoring Minnesota’s veterans is one of my driving forces and a responsibility that I take with utmost seriousness,” said Senator Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo), chair of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. “When our servicemen and servicewomen complete their commitment to our country it is our job to support them during their transition home. That means providing opportunities, mental health assistance, and other social services which is what we accomplish in this bill.”
In addition to funding the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Military Affairs, the budget also includes an investment in Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota’sC.O.R.E program, which supports military members, veterans, and their families by providing counseling, case management, outreach, referral, and education services. The budget also includes funding for the Department of Military Affairs “Support Our Troops” program, Sustain Reintegration Programs, and new enlistment incentives.
“I served alongside some of the bravest people I have ever met during my time in the Navy, Air Force Reserves, and Air National Guard, and so honoring the sacrifices and commemorating the legacies of America’s servicemembers is a deeply personal mission,” added Senator Anderson. “To me, this isn’t just a chance to remember challenges our veterans have overcome in the past, but also an opportunity to bring awareness to the struggles that veterans face today.”
In addition, the bill establishes ‘POW and MIA Recognition Day’ and ‘American Allies Day’, acknowledging the sacrifice made by many Minnesota veterans and those who fought alongside them. The bill also establishes a ‘Veterans Suicide Awareness Day’ to help bring light to a crisis that many veterans face.
Finally, housing Minnesota’s veterans remains a priority of the Senate. Last session, Senate Republicans authorized $32 million for the construction of three new veterans homes – one in Preston, one in Montevideo, and one in Bemidji. The homes will support about 200 beds for Minnesota veterans. This session, Senate Republicans continue to advocate for those homes, working with federal officials to help secure final approval.
The veterans budget funds the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs. In total, veterans receive $208.896 million out of the state’s general fund over the next two years.