There is a substantial $17 million in new investments for Minnesota’s veterans to help care for our veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs is given greater authority to distribute grant dollars from the Support Our Troops Fund to organizations that improve the lives of veterans and their families.
STATUS: The bill was signed into law. (S.F. 888)
Veterans Bills that Did Not Pass
Purple Heart Driver’s License Designation
Minnesotans who have earned a Purple Heart would be able to show their recognition every time they display their driver’s license or state identification card if this legislation becomes law. The proposal would add an optional Purple Heart designation license to those documents and would also permit free daily or annual access to state parks and trails to holders of a driver’s license or state identification card with the Purple Heart designation. Minnesota already has special designation on driver’s licenses for veterans, seniors, for 100% disabled veterans, and multiple others. The Purple Heart designation would be added when recipients renew their state identification cards. (S.F. 345)
Encouraging Businesses to Hire Veterans
Minnesota’s 370,000 veterans are finding work at better rates in 2014 than even a year ago, but veterans’ unemployment rates are still higher than the state average of 3.7%. This session, legislation has been introduced to create a new veterans hiring tax credit aimed at further lowering veteran unemployment.
Not only does the legislation incentivize businesses to hire under- and unemployed veterans, but disabled veterans as well. While similar tax relief measures exist at the federal level, this bill would represent the boldest step in Minnesota to encourage private-sector veteran hiring. These veterans basically leave their jobs behind when they go overseas to fight, and when they return the unemployment rate they face is unacceptable. Supporters argue that we owe them a job and a renewed sense of purpose when they finally return.
The bill has strong support from a number of veteran advocacy groups, and is listed as one of the top legislative priorities for the United Veterans Legislative Council (UVLC) and the Military Action Group (MAG), two veterans’ organizations that advocate for veterans issues at the Capitol. See also the Tax Section. (S.F. 888)