Sen. Chuck Wiger: Bill Establishes New Initiatives for Veterans
A column by Sen. Chuck Wiger.
I am proud to co-author a package of legislation giving increased attention to the issues facing Minnesota veterans. The bill, SF 1278/HF1465, has bi-partisan support. It addresses many of the concerns veterans discussed with me when they had their recent "Veterans Day on the Hill" event.
The package builds upon current veterans’ policies as well as establishes new initiatives such as the Support Our Veterans Account in the special revenue fund. The bill supports veterans' families by putting more funds towards the Gold Star program and extending eligibility under the Minnesota GI Bill.
Provisions in the bill include:
- Extending the property tax homestead market value exclusion for surviving spouses
- Establishing a veterans jobs tax credit for employers
- Modifying county veteran service officer grants
- Designating the Honor and Remember Flag as a state symbol of concern and commitment to honoring and remembering the sacrificed lives or armed forces members
- Appropriating money to the commissioner of veterans affairs for a grant to the Minnesota assistance council for veterans for homelessness assistance
- Requiring the commissioner of veterans affairs to issue special Support Our Veterans license plates and establishing the Support Our Veterans Account in the special revenue fund
- Requiring the state lottery to establish a scratch-off game dedicated to the Support Our Veterans fund
- Appropriating money to the Gold Star program for surviving
family members, for funeral honor guard compensation, department information
technology systems, the Fillmore county veterans cemetery operation, and for
veterans service organizations
In addition to co-authoring the comprehensive package, I authored legislation to provide tax credits to employers who hire veterans and a resolution memorializing the Congress of the United States to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the Prisoner of War - Missing in Action issue. It is important we never forget those who have not returned.
Our veterans are very important to our country and to our state. They have sacrificed a great deal. We need to do everything we can to support our service men and women when they come home. That includes helping them find jobs, taking care of their family and providing medical care, just to name a few.
I’m proud to have spent my career working to make sure our veterans are treated with respect, honor and dignity when they come home. Our country is what it is today because of those brave individuals. I am honored every time I meet a veteran and it is a privilege to work on their behalf and to represent their interests.
Please contact my office with questions or comments about veterans affairs or any other issue. I can be reached by email at email@example.com and by phone at 651-296-6820. As always, you are welcome to come visit me, too. 205 State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155.