The state legislative session is underway, and that means DAV MN has been active in advocating for Minnesota’s Veterans during the process. This session is something far different from anything I have experienced in the past 6 years doing legislative work for the DAV. None of the hearings are being held in person, everything is Zoom. There is one major upside to this, it puts all of us on a level playing field. If you are from Greater Minnesota, you have just as much access to testify, or attend a hearing as the usually heavily represented Metro area.
The session started with DAV MN having an opportunity to present who we are as an organization to the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. This is always a highlight for me, as I enjoy the opportunity to share what we as an organization do to make an impact in the lives of Minnesota’s Veterans, their families, and survivors. I strongly encourage every chapter to do something similar, and have one member (hopefully your BPTL) contact the Representatives and Senators who represent your area and let them know who DAV is locally.
The initial round of introductions has been followed by testifying on some legislation, the primary bills I am working on this year are HF 641 & SF 683. These are companion bills that would create a tax credit for hiring homeless or disabled Veterans in Minnesota at $1,500 and $3,000, respectively. This has been something we have been working on for years, but never seems to make it across the finish line. It is past time that Minnesota joins states like Wisconsin, with a $4,000, Iowa with a $4,8000, and not to mention New York who has a up to $15,000 credit to encourage hiring Veterans.
The DAV also remains active with the Commanders Task Force, who has again made their primary focus the Veterans Restorative Justice Act. This bill has been amazingly frustrating as St. Paul politics have seen it pass in one chamber or the other, and fail for reasons that seem unrelated to actual content of the bill.
Veterans Day on the Hill UPDATE
know many of you look forward to our annual Veterans Day on the Hill event, where hundreds of Veterans from across Minnesota make some noise in the Capitol Rotunda. It is also one of my favorite events. Unfortunately, due to everything that is going on with the current pandemic it has been decided that we can’t safely make the event happen this year.
That doesn’t mean we’re not planning something though. I have presented, and had accepted a DAV driven idea to instead try a “Veterans Week of Advocacy”. Many more details will come out in the coming weeks, but please start thinking about ways we can drive advocacy through the roof and at least for one week push Veterans priorities to the top of the list. We are currently looking at April 11-16 to ask the Veterans community, and our supporters, to engage in various ways to advocate for Minnesota’s Veterans.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] or 651-291-1212.
——–Trent C Dilks, Executive Director-Foundation