ST. PAUL, MINN. – On Tuesday Senator Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids) voted to pass the Senate’s $209 million finance bill on a 37 to 27 vote. This legislation is an omnibus investment bill that combines recommendations from all Senate committees, including Health and Human Services, State and Veterans Affairs, Environment, Energy and Agriculture and Education.
Sen. Saxhaug is Chair of the State and Veterans Affairs Committee and helped push for the advancement of several veteran-related bills. In total $731,000 will go toward veterans programs this year including $206,000 to help ensure transitioning military service members and their spouses will be provided with a temporary license to practice in Minnesota. According to a joint Defense and Treasury report, 35 percent of military spouses are in an in occupation that requires licensure (typically teaching and nursing). This bill aims at simplifying both the moving and employment process for service members and their families.
“I am particularly happy about the work we did for veterans this year. We passed several bills to help streamline processes for veterans and their families who have recently moved to the state. We also invested in veteran-owned businesses and are investing in grants to study the health and housing needs of military veterans,” said Sen. Saxhaug.
Additionally, the finance bill appropriates $600,000 to the Arts Boards which is dedicated to closing the achievement gap through arts education. Early childhood education is also addressed in the bill through more than $21 million in programming that includes early learning scholarships, an increase in funding for early childhood education and school readiness aid.
“Voting yes on the finance bill was the right thing to do because it invests in the things that make Minnesota great, our natural resources, our state’s rich arts and culture, our education system and our veterans,” said Sen. Saxhaug.