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SF 1316

1st Engrossment - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 03/24/2017 09:05am

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Current Version - 1st Engrossment

A bill for an act
relating to military and veterans affairs; appropriating funds to the Departments
of Military and Veterans Affairs; modifying uses for Support Our Troops account;
requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a policy to grant free or
reduced-cost burials in state veterans cemeteries to eligible indigent dependents
of veterans;amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, sections 190.19, subdivisions 2,
2a; 197.236, subdivision 9.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

ARTICLE 1

VETERANS AND MILITARY AFFAIRS APPROPRIATIONS

Section 1. APPROPRIATIONS.

The sums shown in the columns marked "Appropriations" are appropriated to the agencies
and for the purposes specified in this article. The appropriations are from the general fund,
or another named fund, and are available for the fiscal years indicated for each purpose.
The figures "2018" and "2019" used in this article mean that the appropriations listed under
them are available for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, or June 30, 2019, respectively.
"The first year" is fiscal year 2018. "The second year" is fiscal year 2019. "The biennium"
is fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

APPROPRIATIONS
Available for the Year
Ending June 30
2018
2019

Sec. 2. MILITARY AFFAIRS

Subdivision 1.

Total Appropriation

$
19,616,000
$
19,616,000

The amounts that may be spent for each
purpose are specified in the following
subdivisions.

Subd. 2.

Maintenance of Training Facilities

6,661,000
6,661,000

Subd. 3.

General Support

2,607,000
2,607,000

Subd. 4.

Enlistment Incentives

10,348,000
10,348,000

Appropriation Availability. If appropriations
for either year of the biennium are insufficient,
the appropriation from the other year is
available. The appropriations for enlistment
incentives are available until expended.

Sec. 3. VETERANS AFFAIRS

Subdivision 1.

Total Appropriation

$
74,384,000
$
74,384,000
Appropriations by Fund
2018
2019
General
74,179,000
74,179,000
Special Revenue
205,000
195,000

The amounts that may be spent for each
purpose are specified in the following
subdivisions.

Subd. 2.

Veterans Programs and Services

17,166,000
17,156,000
Appropriations by Fund
2018
2019
General
16,961,000
16,961,000
Special Revenue
205,000
195,000

Veterans Service Organizations. $353,000
each year is for grants to the following
congressionally chartered veterans service
organizations, as designated by the
commissioner: Disabled American Veterans,
Military Order of the Purple Heart, the
American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars,
Vietnam Veterans of America, AMVETS, and
Paralyzed Veterans of America. This funding
must be allocated in direct proportion to the
funding currently being provided by the
commissioner to these organizations.

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.
$750,000 each year is for a grant to the
Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans
to provide assistance throughout Minnesota
to veterans and their families who are
homeless or in danger of homelessness,
including assistance with the following:

(1) utilities;

(2) employment; and

(3) legal issues.

The assistance authorized under this paragraph
must be made only to veterans who have
resided in Minnesota for 30 days prior to
application for assistance and according to
other guidelines established by the
commissioner. In order to avoid duplication
of services, the commissioner must ensure that
this assistance is coordinated with all other
available programs for veterans.

Honor Guards. $200,000 each year is for
compensation for honor guards at the funerals
of veterans under Minnesota Statutes, section
197.231.

Minnesota GI Bill. $200,000 each year is for
the costs of administering the Minnesota GI
Bill postsecondary educational benefits,
on-the-job training, and apprenticeship
program under Minnesota Statutes, section
197.791. Of this amount, $100,000 is for
transfer to the Office of Higher Education.

Gold Star Program. $100,000 each year is
for administering the Gold Star Program for
surviving family members of deceased
veterans.

County Veterans Service Office. $1,100,000
each year is for funding the County Veterans
Service Office grant program under Minnesota
Statutes, section 197.608.

Veterans' Voices. $25,000 in fiscal year 2018
and $25,000 in fiscal year 2019 are for a grant
to the Association of Minnesota Public
Educational Radio Stations for statewide
programming to promote the Veterans' Voices
program. The Veterans' Voices program shall
educate and engage communities regarding
veterans' contributions, knowledge, skills, and
experiences with an emphasis on Korean War
veterans and Operation Desert Storm veterans.
These appropriations are from the Support Our
Troops account in the special revenue fund.
This is a onetime appropriation and is not
added to the base.

Veterans Defense Project. $90,000 in fiscal
year 2018 and $85,000 in fiscal year 2019 are
for grants to the Veterans Defense Project.
The Veterans Defense Project must use the
grant money to support, through education,
outreach, and legal assistance, military
veterans who are involved with the criminal
justice system. These appropriations are from
the Support Our Troops account in the special
revenue fund. This is a onetime appropriation
and is not added to the base.

Veterans Journey Home; Appropriation.
$90,000 in fiscal year 2018 and $85,000 in
fiscal year 2019 are for a grant to the Veterans
Journey Home. The Veterans Journey Home
must use the grant money to support the
development of new or rehabbed affordable
housing dedicated for low-to-moderate income
veterans and their families. These
appropriations are from the Support Our
Troops account in the special revenue fund.
This is a onetime appropriation and is not
added to the base.

Subd. 3.

Veterans Homes

57,218,000
57,218,000

Veterans Homes Special Revenue Account.
The general fund appropriations made to the
department may be transferred to a veterans
homes special revenue account in the special
revenue fund in the same manner as other
receipts are deposited according to Minnesota
Statutes, section 198.34, and are appropriated
to the department for the operation of veterans
homes facilities and programs.

Maximize Federal Reimbursements. The
department will seek opportunities to
maximize federal reimbursements of
Medicare-eligible expenses and will provide
annual reports to the commissioner of
management and budget on the federal
Medicare reimbursements received.
Contingent upon future federal Medicare
receipts, reductions to the homes' general fund
appropriation may be made.

Sec. 4. MILITARY AFFAIRS; TRANSFER
AUTHORITY

Of the funds transferred to maintenance of
training facilities in Laws 2015, chapter 77,
article 1, section 36, subdivision 4, $2,000,000
in fiscal year 2017 may be transferred to the
enlistment incentives appropriation to address
a projected fiscal year 2017 deficit in the
enlistment incentives program.

ARTICLE 2

MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS POLICY

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 190.19, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Uses.

(a) Money appropriated from the Minnesota "Support Our Troops" account
to the Department of Military Affairs may be used for:

(1) grants directly to eligible individuals;

(2) grants to one or more eligible foundations for the purpose of making grants to eligible
individuals, as provided in this section;

(3) veterans' services; or

(4) grants to family readiness groups chartered by the adjutant general; or

(5) up to $500,000 per fiscal year for bonus programs as defined in section 192.501.

(b) As used in paragraph (a), the term "eligible individual" includes any person who is:

(1) a member in good standing of the Minnesota National Guard or a reserve unit based
in Minnesota who has been called to active service as defined in section 190.05, subdivision
5
;

(2) a Minnesota resident who is a member of a military reserve unit not based in
Minnesota, if the member is called to active service as defined in section 190.05, subdivision
5
;

(3) any other Minnesota resident performing active service for any branch of the military
of the United States;

(4) a person who honorably served in one of the capacities listed in clause (1), (2), or
(3) who has current financial needs directly related to that service; and

(5) a member of the immediate family of an individual identified in clause (1), (2), (3),
or (4). For purposes of this clause, "immediate family" means the individual's spouse and
minor children and, if they are dependents of the member of the military, the member's
parents, grandparents, siblings, stepchildren, and adult children.

(c) As used in paragraph (a), the term "eligible foundation" includes any organization
that:

(1) is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;

(2) has articles of incorporation under chapter 317A specifying the purpose of the
organization as including the provision of financial assistance to members of the Minnesota
National Guard and other United States armed forces reserves and their families and
survivors; and

(3) agrees in writing to distribute any grant money received from the adjutant general
under this section to eligible individuals as defined in this section and in accordance with
any written policies and rules the adjutant general may impose as conditions of the grant to
the foundation.

(d) The maximum grant awarded to an eligible individual under paragraph (a) in a
calendar year with funds from the Minnesota "Support Our Troops" account, either through
an eligible institution or directly from the adjutant general, may not exceed $2,000 $4,000.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 190.19, subdivision 2a, is amended to read:


Subd. 2a.

Uses; veterans.

(a) Money appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs
from the Minnesota "Support Our Troops" account may be used for:

(1) grants to veterans service organizations;

(2) outreach to underserved veterans;

(3) providing services and programs for veterans and their families;

(4) transfers to the vehicle services account for Gold Star license plates under section
168.1253;

(5) grants of up to $100,000 to any organization approved by the commissioner of
veterans affairs for the purpose of supporting and improving the lives of veterans and their
families; and

(6) grants to an eligible foundation.;

(7) the agency's uncompensated burial costs for eligible dependents to whom the
commissioner grants a no-fee or reduced-fee burial in the state's veteran cemeteries pursuant
to section 197.236, subdivision 9, paragraph (b); and

(8) grants of up to $3,000 to a disabled veteran to construct disability access
improvements in or around the disabled veteran's residence.

(b) For purposes of this subdivision, "eligible foundation" includes any organization
that:

(1) is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code; and

(2) is a nonprofit corporation under chapter 317A and the organization's articles of
incorporation specify that a purpose of the organization includes: (i) providing assistance
to veterans and their families; or (ii) enhancing the lives of veterans and their families.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 197.236, subdivision 9, is amended to read:


Subd. 9.

Burial fees.

(a) The commissioner of veterans affairs shall establish a fee
schedule, which may be adjusted from time to time, for the interment of eligible spouses
and dependent children. The fees shall cover as nearly as practicable the actual costs of
interment, excluding the value of the plot.

(b) Upon application, the commissioner may waive or reduce the burial fee in the case
of
for an indigent eligible person. The commissioner shall develop a policy, eligibility
standards, and application form for requests to waive or reduce the burial fee to indigent
eligible applicants.

(c) No plot or interment fees may be charged for the burial of service members who die
on active duty or eligible veterans, as defined in United States Code, title 38, section 101,
paragraph (2).

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