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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Veterans Day message

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

Please join me in offering the utmost gratitude to the men and women who have served our nation’s armed forces as we commemorate Veterans Day this Saturday.

Words don’t seem to do justice to the sacrifices our true American heroes make in order to uphold our freedom and protect our citizens, but please realize your selfless efforts are greatly appreciated.

I am proud of the support the Legislature provided veterans in a variety of ways this year. One new law comes from a bill I personally authored providing county boards the ability to appropriate money for veterans memorial anywhere in county. This eliminates an unnecessary statute requiring county-funded memorials to be located in a county seat.

That is only one of a number of changes geared toward supporting veterans. Here are some other new laws we passed this year:

  • $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.
  • $700,000 for Veterans Journey Home grants.

Another significant provision that we passed in 2015-16 to make Minnesota a better home for veterans became effective with the 2017 tax filing year, excluding military retirement pay from being taxed.

Veterans Day also is a good time to check out programs and services available to veterans through the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies. I encourage those who have not served to pass along the information below to anyone who could benefit, or even take some time to assist a veteran who may need assistance.

Minnesota GI Bill
The Minnesota GI Bill program provides postsecondary educational assistance to eligible Minnesota veterans, and to the children and spouses of deceased or severely disabled Minnesota Veterans. For eligibility requirements and financial assistance information on the GI Bill, click here or call 651-642-0567.

LinkVet, the Veterans Linkage Line for Minnesota veterans, makes it easier for veterans and their families to find services and ensure immediate crisis intervention. During business hours, trained staff from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs will provide information on veterans’ benefits, healthcare, education, and reintegration. The line will roll to Crisis Connection counselors for 24-hour, seven days a week coverage (including holidays) for immediate crisis intervention and psychological counseling. For more information on LinkVet, click here or call 1-888-546-5838.

E-mail Newsletters
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs offers e-mail lists to keep you informed of veteran issues in Minnesota. To sign up for the newsletters, click here or call 1-888-546-5838.