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HF 4335

as introduced - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 03/17/2022 02:20pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 03/17/2022

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to veterans affairs; establishing veterans service organization grant program;
appropriating money for veterans service organization grant program; amending
Laws 2021, First Special Session chapter 12, article 1, section 37, subdivision 2;
proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 197.

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

Section 1.

new text begin [197.61] VETERANS SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS GRANT PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Grant program. new text end

new text begin A veterans service organization grant program is
established to provide grants to congressionally chartered veterans service organizations
(VSO) to enhance the effectiveness of veterans services. The program shall be administered
by the commissioner of veterans affairs.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the
meanings given them.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs or
designee.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Department" means the Department of Veterans Affairs.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Congressionally chartered veterans service organizations" are organizations that
have been granted charters by Congress through the enactment of public laws. Each
congressionally chartered VSO is listed in United States Code, title 36, subtitle II: Patriotic
and National Organizations.
new text end

new text begin (e) "VA" means the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
new text end

new text begin (f) "Accredited representation" means providing representation under the authority
granted by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to representatives, agents,
and attorneys to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims
for VA benefits.
new text end

new text begin (g) "Full member" means a veteran who meets the requirements for membership in a
congressionally chartered veterans service organization and is entitled to all of the rights
and privileges thereof. Full member does not include an associate or auxiliary member.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Eligibility. new text end

new text begin To be eligible for a grant under subdivision 6, a veterans service
organization must provide:
new text end

new text begin (1) accredited representation for the preparation and presentation of veteran claims to
the United States government for compensation and other benefits to which a veteran is
entitled as a result of the veteran's military service;
new text end

new text begin (2) a state or department level veterans service officer to provide programs and services
to veterans; or
new text end

new text begin (3) statewide transportation services to veterans.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Grant process. new text end

new text begin (a) A grant may be used only for the purpose of enhancing the
operations of congressionally chartered veterans service organizations.
new text end

new text begin (b) The commissioner shall provide a list of qualifying uses for grant expenditures as
required in subdivision 5 and shall approve a grant for a qualifying use if there is sufficient
grant money remaining in the grant program to cover the full amount of the grant.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Qualifying uses. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall develop a list of qualifying uses for
grants awarded under this section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Grant amount. new text end

new text begin (a) Each congressionally chartered veterans service organization
is eligible to receive an annual grant determined by the commissioner as follows:
new text end

new text begin (1) a dollar amount per full member for each organization member to be established by
the commissioner. The dollar amount may be adjusted every biennium, subject to available
funding; and
new text end

new text begin (2) a dollar amount for each organization, established by the commissioner, based on
the organization's share of the VA claims workload for veterans and their dependents who
reside in Minnesota. The VA claims workload must be reported as a percentage of the state's
total VA workload.
new text end

new text begin (b) The VA claims workload for each congressionally chartered veterans service
organization must be determined by a report supplied by the VA, as adopted by the
commissioner.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Recapture. new text end

new text begin If a congressionally chartered veterans service organization fails
to use the grant for a qualified use approved by the commissioner or does not spend the
allocated grant money, the commissioner shall seek recovery of the grant from the
organization and the organization must repay the grant amount or any unused grant money.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Laws 2021, First Special Session chapter 12, article 1, section 37, subdivision 2,
is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Veterans Programs and Services

deleted text begin 27,073,000 deleted text end new text begin
27,220,000
new text end
deleted text begin 22,153,000 deleted text end new text begin
22,300,000
new text end

(a) CORE Program. $750,000 each year is
for the Counseling and Case Management
Outreach Referral and Education (CORE)
program.

(b) Veterans Service Organizationsnew text begin Grant
Program
new text end.
deleted text begin$353,000deleted text endnew text begin $500,000new text end each year is for
grants to deleted text beginthe followingdeleted text end congressionally
chartered veterans service organizationsnew text begin
meeting eligibility requirements under
Minnesota Statutes, section 197.61,
subdivision 3,
new text end as designated by the
commissionerdeleted text begin: 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
deleted text end.

(c) 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.

(d) State's Veterans Cemeteries. $6,172,000
the first year and $1,672,000 the second year
are for the state's veterans cemeteries. Of these
amounts, $4,500,000 the first year is to
construct and equip the new veterans cemetery
in Redwood Falls.

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

(f) 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.

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

(h) 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.

(i) Veteran Homelessness Initiative.
$3,165,000 each year is for an initiative to
prevent and end veteran homelessness. The
commissioner of veterans affairs may provide
housing vouchers and other services to
alleviate homelessness among veterans and
former service members in Minnesota. The
commissioner may contract for program
administration and may establish a vacancy
reserve fund. The base for this appropriation
in fiscal year 2024 and each year thereafter is
$1,311,000.

(j) Camp Bliss. $75,000 each year is for a
grant to Independent Lifestyles, Inc. for
expenses related to retreats for veterans at
Camp Bliss in Walker, Minnesota, including
therapy, transportation, and activities
customized for veterans.

(k) Veterans On The Lake. $50,000 in the
first year is for a grant to Veterans on the Lake
for expenses related to retreats for veterans,
including therapy, transportation, and activities
customized for veterans.

(l) Veterans Resilience Project. $400,000
each year is for a grant to the veterans
resilience project. Grant funds must be used
to make eye movement desensitization and
reprocessing therapy available to veterans and
current military service members who are
suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder
and trauma. The base for this appropriation in
fiscal year 2024 and each year thereafter is
$200,000.

The veterans resilience project must report to
the commissioner of veterans affairs and the
chairs and ranking minority members of the
legislative committees with jurisdiction over
veterans affairs policy and finance by January
15 of each year on the program. The report
must include an overview of the program's
budget, a detailed explanation of program
expenditures, the number of veterans and
service members served by the program, and
a list and explanation of the services provided
to program participants.

(m) 9/11 Task Force. $500,000 the first year
is for the Advisory Task Force on 9/11 and
Global War on Terrorism Remembrance. The
task force must collect, memorialize, and
publish stories of Minnesotans' service in the
Global War on Terrorism and impacts on their
dependents. The task force must host a
remembrance program in September 2021.
This is a onetime appropriation.