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Reenlistment, commissioning bonuses OK’d for more National Guard members

Consequences of a congressional change could be fixed with a Minnesota bill.

Under state law, “the adjutant general may establish a program to provide a reenlistment or commissioning bonus to eligible members of the Minnesota National Guard who extend their term of service in the National Guard.”

Eligibility requirements include less than 12 years of member service.

Sponsored by Rep. Luke Frederick (DFL-Mankato), HF3379 would eliminate that provision, an idea endorsed 12-0 by the House Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee Wednesday.

The bill’s next stop is the House Floor.

Frederick said the 12-year marker was a previous assumption that if someone had served a dozen years, they’d want to stay until year 20 for pension purposes.

“In 2016, Congress decided to change their retirement system and that pension is no longer something that exists for new service personnel,” Frederick said.

“We get our Guard members at 12 years, we want to make sure we can keep them there until they retire because we all know what happens when people’s knowledge goes out the door and we leave people hanging,” said Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL-International Falls), the committee chair.

Awaiting action by the full Senate is the bill’s companion, SF2635. Sen. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville) is the sponsor.

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