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State Representative Jeff Backer

593 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-4929

For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520

Posted: 2017-11-09
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Legislative Update

Legislative update - veterans


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Greetings,

Before we get to today’s official business, I want to thank all those who attended the annual pancake feed in Browns Valley to support our ambulance service. The turnout was great, with our best attendance ever. Fundraisers are very important to groups like ours in Greater Minnesota and your support is very much appreciated. I enjoy dropping by area fundraisers to help out local organizations, so please send me an invitation if you are hosting one.

As for today’s main subject, I encourage people to make a point of thanking the men and women of our armed forces for their selfless service as we celebrate Veterans Day this Saturday. I hope you are able to attend any area events recognizing their efforts.

The Legislature continues to make support for veterans a priority and this year we made a number of changes in law to help them. Here are some highlights:

  • $1.449 million operational funding increase for Veterans Affairs Department programs and services to veterans.
  • Minnesota GI Bill expanded to include apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefits; and increases educational as well as apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefit amounts.
  • Increases Support Our Troops individual grant eligibility amounts from $2,000 to $4,000.
  • $500,000 to the Humanities Center for Veterans Defense Project grants.
  • Expansion of impersonation of military officer (“stolen valor”) to include any military member for the purpose of financial gain.
  • County boards authorized to appropriate money for veterans memorial anywhere in county.
  • $700,000 for Veterans Journey Home grants.

Aside from those new laws, action we took in 2015-16 to exempt military retirement pay from being taxed became effective for the 2017 tax filing year.

Thanks again, veterans, for your service to this great nation and I will continue advocating for you at the Capitol.

Please be sure to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government. I can be reached by phone at either 651-296-4929, 701-361-1909, or via email at rep.jeff.backer@house.mn.

Have a great weekend!

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