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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 256-H.F.No. 2166 
                  An act relating to the military; reserving a military 
                  family's position under the child care assistance 
                  fund; prohibiting potential employers from inquiring 
                  about National Guard or reserve status; transferring 
                  responsibility for the veterans training program and 
                  general responsibility for veterans educational 
                  benefits to the commissioner of veterans affairs; 
                  requiring payment of a salary differential to school 
                  district employees who have reported to active 
                  military duty; requiring the commissioner of veterans 
                  affairs to provide information needed to implement a 
                  Global War on Terrorism bonus to veterans; changing 
                  certain veterans benefit provisions; amending 
                  Minnesota Statutes 2002, sections 119B.09, by adding a 
                  subdivision; 197.03; 197.75, subdivision 3; Minnesota 
                  Statutes 2003 Supplement, sections 192.501, 
                  subdivision 2; 197.05; 197.75, subdivision 1; 197.78, 
                  subdivision 1; 471.975; proposing coding for new law 
                  in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 181; 197; repealing 
                  Minnesota Statutes 2002, sections 124D.97; 197.23, 
                  subdivision 2; 197.236, subdivision 4; 197.59. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 

                                   ARTICLE 1
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 119B.09, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 4a.  [TEMPORARY INELIGIBILITY OF MILITARY PERSONNEL.] 
        Counties must reserve a family's position under the child care 
        assistance fund if a family has been receiving child care 
        assistance but is temporarily ineligible for assistance due to 
        increased income from active military service.  Activated 
        military personnel may be temporarily ineligible until 
        deactivation.  A county must reserve a military family's 
        position on the basic sliding fee waiting list under the child 
        care assistance fund if a family is approved to receive child 
        care assistance and reaches the top of the waiting list but is 
        temporarily ineligible for assistance.  
           Sec. 2.  [181.535] [ARMED FORCES RESERVES OR NATIONAL GUARD 
        STATUS.] 
           (a) No person, whether acting directly or through an agent 
        or as the agent or employee of another may, with intent to 
        discriminate: 
           (1) ask a person seeking employment with that person or the 
        employer represented by that person whether the person seeking 
        employment is a member of the National Guard or a reserve 
        component of the United States Armed Forces; or 
           (2) require the person seeking employment to make any oral 
        or written statement concerning National Guard or reserve status 
        as a condition precedent to employment. 
           (b) The adjutant general and the commissioner of veterans 
        affairs shall use reasonable means to publicize this section.  
        This section does not apply to public employers asking a 
        question or requesting a statement for the purpose of 
        determining whether a veterans preference applies. 
           (c) Section 645.241 does not apply to this section.  
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, section 
        192.501, subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [TUITION AND TEXTBOOK REIMBURSEMENT GRANT 
        PROGRAM.] (a) The adjutant general shall establish a program to 
        provide tuition and textbook reimbursement grants to eligible 
        members of the Minnesota National Guard within the limitations 
        of this subdivision. 
           (b) Eligibility is limited to a member of the National 
        Guard who: 
           (1) is serving satisfactorily as defined by the adjutant 
        general; 
           (2) is attending a postsecondary educational institution, 
        as defined by section 136A.15, subdivision 6, including a 
        vocational or technical school operated or regulated by this 
        state or another state or province; and 
           (3) provides proof of satisfactory completion of 
        coursework, as defined by the adjutant general. 
           In addition, if a member of the Minnesota National Guard is 
        killed in the line of state active service or federally funded 
        state active service, as defined in section 190.05, subdivisions 
        5a and 5b, the member's surviving spouse, and any surviving 
        dependent who has not yet reached 24 years of age, is eligible 
        for a tuition and textbook reimbursement grant. 
           The adjutant general may, within the limitations of this 
        paragraph and other applicable laws, determine additional 
        eligibility criteria for the grant, and must specify the 
        criteria in department regulations and publish changes as 
        necessary. 
           (c) The amount of a tuition and textbook reimbursement 
        grant must be specified on a schedule as determined and 
        published in department regulations by the adjutant general, but 
        is limited to a maximum of an amount equal to the greater of: 
           (1) 75 up to 100 percent of the cost of tuition for lower 
        division programs in the College of Liberal Arts at the Twin 
        Cities campus of the University of Minnesota in the most recent 
        academic year; or 
           (2) 50 up to 100 percent of the cost of tuition for the 
        program in which the person is enrolled at that Minnesota public 
        institution, or if that public institution is outside the state 
        of Minnesota, for the cost of a comparable program at the 
        University of Minnesota, except that in the case of a survivor 
        as defined in paragraph (b), the amount of the tuition and 
        textbook reimbursement grant for coursework satisfactorily 
        completed by the person is limited to 100 percent of the cost of 
        tuition for postsecondary courses at a Minnesota public 
        educational institution. 
           Paragraph (b) notwithstanding, a person is no longer 
        eligible for a grant under this subdivision once the person has 
        received grants under this subdivision for the equivalent of 208 
        quarter credits or 144 semester credits of coursework. 
           (d) Tuition and textbook reimbursement grants received 
        under this subdivision may not be considered by the Minnesota 
        Higher Education Services Office or by any other state board, 
        commission, or entity in determining a person's eligibility for 
        a scholarship or grant-in-aid under sections 136A.095 to 
        136A.1311. 
           (e) If a member fails to complete a term of enlistment 
        during which a tuition and textbook reimbursement grant was 
        paid, the adjutant general may seek to recoup a prorated amount 
        as determined by the adjutant general. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, section 
        197.78, subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  The commissioner of education veterans 
        affairs shall foster and support educational programs for the 
        benefit of veterans to assure that no Minnesotan shall be 
        deprived of earned veterans benefits by virtue of the 
        unavailability of programs for which the veteran is entitled to 
        enroll and receive subsistence, tuition, and other benefits 
        under federal programs.  It shall be the responsibility of the 
        commissioner to measure the demand for veterans service 
        educational programs based on the criteria mandated by federal 
        veterans benefits laws and to authorize, promote, and make 
        grants within appropriated amounts to assure such program 
        availability. 
           Sec. 5.  [197.781] [VETERANS TRAINING PROGRAM.] 
           The commissioner of veterans affairs shall administer the 
        veterans training program.  Money in the veterans training 
        revolving fund for the veterans training program is appropriated 
        to the commissioner to pay the necessary expenses of operating 
        the program.  The department must act as the state agency for 
        approving educational institutions for purposes of United States 
        Code, title 38, chapter 36, relating to educational benefits for 
        veterans and other persons and it may adopt rules to fulfill its 
        obligations as the state approving agency.  All federal money 
        received for purposes of the veterans training program must be 
        deposited in the veterans training revolving fund. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, section 
        471.975, is amended to read: 
           471.975 [MAY PAY SALARY DIFFERENTIAL OF NATIONAL GUARD OR 
        OTHER RESERVE COMPONENT ON ACTIVE DUTY.] 
           (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a statutory or 
        home rule charter city, county, town, school district, or other 
        political subdivision may pay to each eligible member of the 
        National Guard or other reserve component of the armed forces of 
        the United States an amount equal to the difference between the 
        member's basic active duty military salary and the salary the 
        member would be paid as an active political subdivision 
        employee, including any adjustments the member would have 
        received if not on leave of absence.  This payment may be made 
        only to a person whose basic active duty military salary is less 
        than the salary the person would be paid as an active political 
        subdivision employee.  Back pay authorized by this section may 
        be paid in a lump sum.  Payment under this section must not 
        extend beyond four years from the date the employee reported for 
        active service, plus any additional time the employee may be 
        legally required to serve. 
           (b) Subject to the limits under paragraph (g), each school 
        district shall pay to each eligible member of the National Guard 
        or other reserve component of the armed forces of the United 
        States an amount equal to the difference between the member's 
        basic active duty military salary and the salary the member 
        would be paid as an active school district employee, including 
        any adjustments the member would have received if not on leave 
        of absence.  The pay differential must be based on a comparison 
        between the member's daily rate of active duty pay, calculated 
        by dividing the member's military monthly salary by the number 
        of paid days in the month, and the member's daily rate of pay 
        for the member's school district salary, calculated by dividing 
        the member's total school district salary by the number of 
        contract days.  The member's salary as a school district 
        employee must include the member's basic salary and any 
        additional salary the member earns from the school district for 
        cocurricular activities.  The differential payment under this 
        paragraph must be the difference between the daily rates of 
        military pay times the number of school district contract days 
        the member misses because of military active duty.  This payment 
        may be made only to a person whose basic active duty military 
        salary is less than the salary the person would be paid as an 
        active school district employee.  Payments may be made at the 
        intervals at which the member received pay as a school district 
        employee.  Payment under this section must not extend beyond 
        four years from the date the employee reported for active 
        service, plus any additional time the employee may be legally 
        required to serve. 
           (c) An eligible member of the reserve components of the 
        armed forces of the United States is a reservist or National 
        Guard member who was an employee of a political subdivision at 
        the time the member reported for active service on or after May 
        29, 2003, or who is on active service on May 29, 2003. 
           (c) (d) Notwithstanding other obligations under law and 
        except as provided in paragraph (e), a statutory or home rule 
        charter city, county, town, or other political subdivision has 
        total discretion regarding employee benefit continuation for a 
        member who reports for active service and the terms and 
        conditions of any benefit. 
           (e) A school district must continue the employee's 
        enrollment in health and dental coverage, and the employer 
        contribution toward that coverage, until the employee is covered 
        by health and dental coverage provided by the armed forces.  If 
        the employee had elected dependent coverage for health or dental 
        coverage as of the time that the employee reported for active 
        service, a school district must offer the employee the option to 
        continue the dependent coverage at the employee's own expense.  
        A school district must permit the employee to continue 
        participating in any pretax account in which the employee 
        participated when the employee reported for active service, to 
        the extent of employee pay available for that purpose. 
           (d) (f) For purposes of this section, "active service" has 
        the meaning given in section 190.05, subdivision 5, but excludes 
        service performed exclusively for purposes of: 
           (1) basic combat training, advanced individual training, 
        annual training, and periodic inactive duty training; 
           (2) special training periodically made available to reserve 
        members; and 
           (3) service performed in accordance with section 190.08, 
        subdivision 3. 
           (g) A school district making payments under paragraph (b) 
        shall place a sum equal to any difference between the amount of 
        salary that would have been paid to the employee who is 
        receiving the payments and the amount of salary being paid to 
        substitutes for that employee into a special fund that must be 
        used to pay or partially pay the deployed employee's payments 
        under paragraph (b).  A school district is required to pay only 
        this amount to the deployed school district employee. 
           Sec. 7.  [GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM BONUS.] 
           By January 15, 2005, the commissioner of veterans affairs 
        shall provide to legislative committees with jurisdiction over 
        veterans affairs the information needed to implement a Global 
        War on Terrorism bonus to veterans, including service 
        eligibility dates, service medals, and a fiscal note. 
           Sec. 8.  [REPEALER.] 
           Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 124D.97, is repealed. 
           Sec. 9.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           This article is effective July 1, 2004. 

                                   ARTICLE 2
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 197.03, is 
        amended to read: 
           197.03 [STATE SOLDIERS' ASSISTANCE FUND CREATED.] 
           There is created a state soldiers' assistance fund to aid 
        and assist any citizen of Minnesota or resident alien residing 
        in Minnesota who served in the military or naval forces of the 
        United States, in securing compensation, hospitalization, 
        medical treatment, insurance or other relief or benefits to 
        which the server may be entitled from the United States or any 
        other government or state and for the emergency relief, 
        hospitalization, treatment and maintenance of all such persons 
        who were bona fide residents of the state at the time their need 
        arose and their dependents as provided by sections 196.05 and 
        197.04 to 197.07. 
           [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective the day 
        following final enactment.  
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, section 
        197.05, is amended to read: 
           197.05 [FUND, HOW EXPENDED.] 
           (a) The state soldiers' assistance fund shall be 
        administered by the commissioner of veterans affairs and shall 
        be used to locate and investigate the facts as to any Minnesota 
        resident or resident alien residing in Minnesota who served in 
        the military or naval forces of the United States and who is 
        indigent or suffering from any disability whether acquired in 
        the service or not; to assist the person and the person's 
        dependents as hereinafter provided in establishing and proving 
        any just claim the person may have against the United States 
        government, or any other government or state for compensation, 
        insurance, relief, or other benefits; to provide emergency 
        hospitalization, treatment, maintenance, and relief for any 
        person suffering from disability who was a bona fide resident of 
        the state at the time the need arose and the person's 
        dependents, as hereinafter provided; and to cooperate with other 
        state, municipal, and county officials and civic or civilian 
        agencies or organizations in carrying out the provisions of 
        sections 197.03 to 197.07.  The commissioner shall limit 
        financial assistance to veterans and dependents to six months, 
        unless recipients have been certified as ineligible for other 
        benefit programs. 
           (b) For purposes of this section, "resident" means a person 
        living in Minnesota for at least 30 days with the intention of 
        residing in the state and not for any temporary purpose.  An 
        applicant may verify a residence address by presenting a valid 
        state driver's license, a state identification card, a voter 
        registration card, a rent receipt, a statement by the landlord, 
        apartment manager, or homeowner verifying that the individual is 
        residing at the address, or other form of verification approved 
        by the commissioner. 
           (c) The fund is appropriated to be used in the manner 
        determined by the commissioner of veterans affairs for these 
        purposes. 
           [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective the day 
        following final enactment.  
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, section 
        197.75, subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [BENEFITS; ELIGIBILITY.] The commissioner 
        of veterans affairs shall spend a biennial appropriation for 
        tuition of veterans, and for tuition, fees, board, room, books 
        and supplies of the children of veterans who have died as a 
        result of their service in the armed forces of the United States 
        as determined by the United States Veterans Administration or 
        other instrumentality of the United States, in the University of 
        Minnesota, a state university, a community college, a technical 
        college, or any other university of higher learning within the 
        state accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges 
        and Secondary Schools, a law college approved by the Supreme 
        Court, a nursing school approved by the state Board of Nursing, 
        or in a trade, business, or vocational school in the state 
        approved by the state Department of Education, or in a 
        theological seminary, for any course which such veteran or child 
        may elect.  Not more than $750 shall be expended for the benefit 
        of any individual veteran, and not more than $750 in any fiscal 
        year shall be expended for the benefit of any child under this 
        section, and the need for the benefit shall be established and 
        determined by the commissioner of veterans affairs.  No child of 
        any veteran shall make application for the benefits provided in 
        this section unless the child resided in Minnesota for at least 
        two years immediately prior to the date of the application.  
        Children of veterans eligible for benefits according to this 
        section shall be admitted to state institutions of university 
        grade free of tuition until they receive a bachelors or 
        equivalent degree.  Payments of benefits shall be made directly 
        to the institution in which the course of instruction is given 
        or to the individual on forms prescribed by the commissioner. 
           [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective the day 
        following final enactment.  
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 197.75, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [PROOF OF ELIGIBILITY.] Approval for benefits 
        under this section shall require submission of the following 
        evidence:  application, financial statement, proof of military 
        service, proof of residency and where applicable, a statement 
        from the United States Veterans Administration that the veteran 
        has exhausted entitlement to federal educational benefits 
        through use thereof or that the veteran died of service 
        connected disabilities.  Upon submission of satisfactory proof 
        of eligibility, benefits shall be provided from the date of 
        application and notification of approval shall be sent to the 
        educational institution and applicant. 
           [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective the day 
        following final enactment.  
           Sec. 5.  [REPEALER.] 
           Minnesota Statutes 2002, sections 197.23, subdivision 2; 
        197.236, subdivision 4; and 197.59, are repealed. 
           [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective the day 
        following final enactment. 
           Presented to the governor May 18, 2004 
           Signed by the governor May 29, 2004, 1:30 p.m.