One of the few areas of agreement this session was a Veterans bill that the House and Senate passed with overwhelming support. The bill passed the House 122-1 and the Senate unanimously. It was also good to see a bill that, if completely single subject, at least did not encompass many different unrelated subjects.
$64.9 Million in FY 22-23 and another 10.2 Million in FY '24-'25. (Download spreadsheet here)
Here are the highlights.
- $10 million for construction cost increases for the three new veterans' nursing homes, in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, and more than $16 million for furnishings to these facilities. The building of these homes was agreed upon by the state and Federal governments which passed legislation a few years ago. The costs are split between the state and Federal governments for building and equipping the homes and the state will pay for ongoing costs. Unfortunately, costs have risen since the approval, this appropriation renews the state's commitment to these homes.
- Re-enlistment bonuses for Minnesota National Guard members to counteract a disincentive effect in their retirement rules.
- Veterans and Gold Star families who served post-9/11 bonuses. A total of $24.8 million in post-service bonus payments were allocated for these veterans and their survivors. This rectifies a situation where a constitutional amendment provided bonuses for Desert Storm Veterans but not for Veterans who served in the later period.
- Funding to address veteran homelessness,
- Money for the State Veterans Cemetery in Redwood Falls