Free Hunting Permits for Veterans’ Home Residents
Legislation to permit any veterans’ home resident to hunt and take antlerless deer using a firearm or muzzleloader without a permit is making its way through the legislature. A person could help the veteran, but the assistant must not shoot the deer. The vets would need to hunt during the respective regular firearms or muzzleloader deer seasons in any part of the state unless the area is closed to antlerless deer hunting or a quota has been placed on the taking of antlerless deer.
STATUS: The bill is in the Environment and Energy Committee as part of the Omnibus Game and Fish bill. (S.F. 1020)
Purple Heart Driver’s License Designation
Minnesotans who have earned a Purple Heart might 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.
STATUS: The bill is in the Finance Committee. (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.
STATUS: The bill is in the Tax Committee. (S.F. 79)
Free State Park Permits for Military Personnel and Disabled Veterans
This bill allows free annual state park passes to active military personnel (or their dependents) in any branch of the US Armed Forces if they present qualifying military identification. For qualifying individuals who do not own a car, a free daily pass may be issued.
STATUS: The bill is in the State and Local Government Committee. (S.F. 805)