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.
“The Minnesota Senate reaffirmed its commitment to Minnesota’s veterans yesterday through this budget bill by providing services and honoring the legacy of our state’s vets,” said Senator Jeff Howe (R-Rockville). “I am happy that we could accomplish this for our servicemen and servicewomen who have made great sacrifices to our state and nation during the course of their service. The support provided in this bill will hopefully go a long way to help veterans transition back towards civilian life while also ensuring that their legacies are remembered.”
In addition to funding the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Military Affairs, the budget also includes an investment in the 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.