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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Bud Nornes (R)

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Update from the House

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

Saturday is Veterans Day, so let’s all be sure to thank those men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect us and defend the freedoms we enjoy in this great nation.

Support for veterans is a priority for this Legislature. A significant change in law we made in 2015-16 to exemp military retirement pay from being taxed just became effective for the 2017 tax filing year. Many other new laws we led to passage in the 2017 session will help veterans as well. This includes:

  • $1.449 million operational funding increase above base 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.
  • $700,000 for Veterans Journey Home grants.
  • County boards authorized to appropriate money for veterans memorial anywhere in county.

Thanks again to our veterans and I hope there is good attendance at various events this weekend to honor them.

As for other news, this week I visited three colleges in St. Paul to learn the latest from each campus and gain information that will help me as chairman of the House Higher Education Committee. It was quite a learning experience for me at Concordia-St. Paul, St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s and the work they are doing in various capacities is impressive. For example, St. Thomas is working very hard on behalf of students who maybe would not be considered candidates for college. The new Doherty College at St. Thomas has been developed with this purpose in mind and I commend those efforts.

I also was pleased to attend this week’s Mnwest Entrepreneurial Summit at M-State Fergus Falls. It was a good mix of business leaders, students and educators working to connect and explore opportunities.

The keynote speaker was former Bemidji State University President Jim Benson, who shared the story of how that school and the city itself teamed up to foster entrepreneurship and economic development in Bemidji. I also spoke on a higher education panel and shared some of my thoughts on the subject.

The forum was a productive event and I would like to personally thank Lois Josefson and the various sponsors who made it possible.

Have a good weekend and, until next time, stay safe.



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