Legislation aims to end veterans homelessness, fund veterans homes and veterans cemeteries, and provide service bonuses to veterans and Gold Star families
(St. Paul, MN) — May 10th, 2022 — Governor Tim Walz today signed into law a comprehensive veterans bill that will move the state toward ending and preventing veteran homelessness, provide service bonuses to veterans and Gold Star families, and fund veterans homes and veterans cemeteries. The bill also includes funding for enlistment incentives for Service Members in the Minnesota National Guard.
“This bill makes good on our duty to protect and support our veterans during and after their service – and it demonstrates that we can come together in a bipartisan way to honor the sacrifices of our veterans and their families,” said Governor Walz . “As a 24-year veteran of the National Guard, this is a bill that’s close to my heart. I know that this is going to have a real impact for our veterans and I’m proud to sign it into law.”
“Those who’ve raised their hand to serve deserve not just our thanks for their service, but our full support here at home,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “In a divided legislature, the overwhelming bipartisan support this bill received demonstrates that our veterans are and will continue to be a priority at the Capitol.”
“Minnesota’s more than 304,000 Veterans know that their voices were heard and their service honored with the historic passing of this first-ever Veterans Omnibus Bill,” said Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Herke. “This support allows us to continue serving those have served, from ending Veteran homelessness and recognizing our GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) Veterans , to supporting the ongoing operations of our State Veterans Cemeteries and three new State Veterans Homes scheduled to open in mid-2023.”
Highlights of Chapter 54, SF 4233 include:
The bill includes nearly $25 million in FY23 for service bonuses to post-9/11 era veterans and Gold Star Families.
In FY23, $5.4 million will go toward a grant to the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans to provide assistance to veterans and former services members and their families who are homeless or in danger of homelessness. The bill also includes $1.7 million annually to fund temporary housing options for veterans and former service members experiencing homelessness and to increase outreach activities to end homelessness.
The bill includes funding of $10.3 million in FY22 and $16.5 million in FY23 for the design, construction, furnishing, and equipping of new veterans homes to support aging veterans in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, Minnesota.
National Guard Retention
$4 million will go toward enlistment incentives designed to retain the trained and ready members of the Minnesota National Guard over FY 23-25.
The bill includes $830,000 annually to operate state veterans cemeteries, including operations in Redwood County.
The bill passed the Minnesota House and Senate with nearly unanimous support.