Veterans and Military Affairs
As part of the first 2017 State Government Bill, which was vetoed by Governor Dayton, $10 million was allocated for new veterans’ homes in underserved areas of Minnesota. If a supplemental budget is put together this session money for a veterans’ home may again be included, as there is continued appetite for a new home in the state. There may also be legislation introduced to determine where a new home would be located.
Grants for making homes accessible for veterans
Minnesota offers a ‘Support Our Troops’ license plate, which was created to help raise additional funds for the organizations and services available to the state’s veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs oversees the funding and awards grants from this funding to eligible organizations.
There was an amendment added to the 2017 Veterans’ Omnibus Bill that would allow Support Our Troops funds to be used for grants for veterans that required accessibility upgrades, such as wheel chair ramps, to be able to stay in their homes. This and other uses for the Yellow Ribbon Fund may be introduced this session.
National Guard tuition assistance
The Department of Military Affairs continues to face shortfalls in its tuition incentives account due to increased restrictions on federal tuition assistance by the federal government and an increase in the utilization of the state tuition reimbursement by National Guard members. There may be legislation to move funds within the Department of Military Affairs to shore up the account or to increase funding for the state tuition reimbursement program and enlistment incentives.