By Dana Thiede, Kare 11 NBC
Vowing to make good on Minnesota’s duty to “protect and support” those who have served in the military, Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday signed the new state Veterans Bill into law.
The legislation, which passed through both the House and Senate nearly unanimously, was written to end and prevent future veteran homelessness, fund veterans’ homes and cemeteries around the state, and award bonuses to Gold Star families who have sacrificed while their loved ones were serving.
“This bill makes good on our duty to protect and support our veterans during and after their service – and it demonstrates that we can come together in a bipartisan way to honor the sacrifices of our veterans and their families,” said Governor Walz in a released statement. “As a 24-year veteran of the National Guard, this is a bill that’s close to my heart. I know that this is going to have a real impact for our veterans and I’m proud to sign it into law.”
The new Veterans Law includes:
- $5.4 million that will fund a grant to provide assistance to veterans and former service members and their families who are homeless or in danger of homelessness.
- $1.7 million annually to fund temporary housing options for vets experiencing homelessness and to increase outreach activities to end homelessness.
- $10.3 million in fiscal year 2022 and $16.5 million in 2023 for the design, construction, furnishing, and equipping of new veterans homes to support vets in Bemidji, Montevideo, and Preston, Minnesota.
- Nearly $25 million in fiscal year 2023 to fund service bonuses to post 9/11 era vets and Gold Star families.
“Minnesota’s more than 304,000 Veterans know that their voices were heard and their service honored with the historic passing of this first-ever Veterans Omnibus Bill,” said Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Herke.
Along with support for Minnesota’s veterans, the new Veterans Law also provides $4 million for enlistment incentives designed to retain trained and ready members of the Minnesota National Guard over fiscal years 2023-2025.
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