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.
“Over the years, in wartime and peace men and women in uniform have willingly sacrificed their time, their talents so that freedom and peace can endure domestically and abroad,” said Senator Dan Hall (R-Burnsville). “In the Minnesota Senate, we want to honor those sacrifices and the commitment of Minnesota’s service members, and with legislation, I believe we can. The provisions outlined in this bill not only honor the legacy of our veterans but provide critical services and support as our veterans make the transition back into regular life. ”
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’s C.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.
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.