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State Representative Matt Bliss

529 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-5516

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

Posted: 2017-11-09
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Legislative Update

Veterans Day message


Dear Neighbor,

Veterans Day is Saturday and I hope you will make a point of thanking the men and women who have put their lives on the line for us.

I have said time and time again that veterans are my top priority at the Legislature. As vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Division, I am proud of the work our committee and the Legislature as a whole did this year to support the men and women who have served our state and nation.

Two key bills we passed this year to help veterans are ones I personally sponsored as the chief author. One of my bills (HF 1527) increased the Support Our Troops grant eligibility amounts from $2,000 to $4,000. The second bill (HF 1438) provided $700,000 for Veterans Journey Home grants.

The Veterans Journey Home funding is something I am especially proud to have delivered. This is a very beneficial program because it does far more than put a roof over someone’s head. Veterans Journey Home works with veterans to address some of the deeper issues as they make the transition back into civilian life. For example, they provide financial and psychological counseling to help with stability. They also work to help families overcome any number of challenges they may be facing. The Journey Home is a great program and I am proud to support this work to help veterans.

The Legislature also made big improvements this year regarding the Minnesota GI Bill, expanding the program to include apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefits. We also increased the amounts of educational, apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefits. Another achievement of note is $500,000 to the Humanities Center for Veterans Defense Project grants.

From a broader perspective, the new two-year state budget we passed includes a $1.5 million funding increase for Veterans Affairs Department programs and services.

All this follows a new change in law excluding military retirement pay from being taxed. That provision was passed by the last Legislature and became effective with the 2017 tax filing year.

Thanks again to all of our military veterans. I will continue working as a strong advocate for the proposed veterans home in Bemidji. We really put that project on the radar this year – including getting the governor’s attention – and it will be back in the mix during the 2018 session.

Good luck and be safe the rest of the deer season.

Sincerely,

Matt

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