Honor guards are entitled to be paid up to $50 each time they provide services at the funeral of a deceased veteran. Current funding sources are the Support Our Troops account and charitable gambling operations at veteran service organizations. The Department of Veterans Affairs implemented a priority payment system after running short of funds one year. Honor guards where charitable gambling proceeds help pay the honor guard expenses were put on a wait list to be paid at the end of the year.
Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) doesn’t believe that’s fair. He sponsors HF1903, which would no longer give the commissioner of veteran’s affairs the right to give payment priority to honor guard units that do not have charitable gambling operations.
“We should not tie the burial with gambling,” Urdahl said. Passed 128-0 by the House on March 1, it now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Mike Parry (R-Waseca) is the sponsor.