Fairgoers are invited to meet and greet legislators and weigh in on hot political topics during their visit to the House of Representatives booth at the state fair.
Take a “selfie,” a “twofie” or a formal portrait to post on social media as you grab the gavel and stand behind a replica of the House speaker’s desk. Complete with flags and the Abraham Lincoln portrait, the display gives you a feel for what it is like to stand in this position of power. Be sure to find out the fascinating history behind the portrait.
As another legislation session comes to a close, several new measures to honor our Veterans have been achieved. On July 16, Governor Dayton invited the public to a ceremonial signing of a new bill passed in the last session to fund construction of a Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial in the Capitol Area. The memorial will honor all Hmong-Lao Veterans of the war in Laos who were allied with the American forces during the Vietnam War. State leaders designed $450,000 to complete the design and construction of the new memorial. This appropriation is only available after at least $90,000 has been committed to the project from non-state sources.
As the state’s primary source of Veteran resources, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has become a go-to source for Veteran news and information. Our team is constantly striving to provide Veterans with the resources they need to make informed decisions. The MDVA legislative team has created a series of tools meant to be an informative and educational resource for staying up-to-date on the constantly changing Veteran-specific laws and policies. These tools are evolving from month to month, and will continue to be improved, as we work toward the goal of better serving our heroes. Below is a short summary of the tools we currently offer.
Due to recent legislative action, military Veterans will now have increased eligibility to apply for Minnesota state police positions. Governor Dayton signed a new bill into law on May 16, which changed the Veteran requirements needed to apply to civilian police forces. The new law reduces the years of military law enforcement experience needed to qualify to take the police reciprocity exam. Now Veterans with four years of active duty experience in law enforcement or Veterans who hold a two-year college degree with a minimum of two years of military law enforcement experience may qualify to take the exam.
Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature voted to expand the Minnesota GI Bill to include more Veterans. Previously only Veterans who served after September 11, 2001 were eligible for the Minnesota GI Bill, which supplements other Veteran education programs. Now, under the new law any Veteran under age of 62 who has served honorably in any branch of the armed forces during any time period may be eligible.
“This is important because the program will now assist the Veterans who need it the most,” said David Bellefeuille, director of the Higher Education Veterans Programs for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. Many pre-9/11 Veterans have either used all their federal education benefits, or they have expired. The enhancements to this program will now assist all Minnesotan Veterans with long-term employment opportunities. The plan starts with education and financial assistance to help Veterans, who have served and sacrificed for this country, achieve their goals.
Legislative Director, MDVA
Once again another budget year has come to an end - but not without challenges. The Legislature literally finished their work in the eleventh hour - minutes before midnight on May 20 – and achieved much in order to keep Minnesota moving ahead. It was a strong year for Veterans. Initiatives that were necessary and supported by the Governor and the legislature was able to put the final linchpin in several Veterans initiatives. Governor Dayton delivered a budget that invests in Minnesota Veterans, ensuring they receive the education, opportunities, and benefits they earned through their service.
» Minneapolis Veterans Home. The budget includes $18.9 million in the bonding bill to complete Phase 3 of the Minneapolis Veterans Home replacement project. With this state funding, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to leverage $35.2 million in federal funds through a compflagetitive grant process and will provide high-quality skilled nursing services for Minnesota’s Veterans.
» Expansion of the Minnesota GI Bill. With an additional $1 million investment, the Minnesota GI Bill program will expand to include all generations of veterans – not just those serving on or after 9/11. This expansion will help ensure all Minnesota veterans have access to the education and training they need to get good-paying jobs.
» One-on-One Help for Veterans. The budget provides $2 million in increased grant funding for County Veteran Services Offices, which help veterans and their families obtain the benefits and services they earned through military service.