Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is an update from the Capitol.
First Veterans Committee
Monday, January 12th was the first committee hearing for the Veterans Division, a committee I will be chairing for the next two years. For our first meeting, we heard from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Military Affairs.
I am honored to chair a committee dedicated to helping both active service members and retired veterans in the state of Minnesota and look forward to working on many policies and initiatives important to veterans this session.
Introduction of Bills
Although only in the second week of session, I have already introduced 13 bills which I hope to have end up on Governor Dayton’s desk for signature this year. Below is a quick overview of a few bills that I am working on.
Veteran Owned Small Business Certification (HF 141)
Streamlines the process for veteran-owned small business certification which currently has to go through the federal government. Funds the change in the certification process to go through the Department of Administration in Minnesota, making the process quicker and more efficient.
Taxable Income Subtraction for Retired Veterans (HF 137)
Minnesota is one of only five states to still tax veteran retirement income, putting our state at a competitive disadvantage to attract young, retired veterans and their families to live here. This bill would subtract $1500 a year in taxable income for each year served in the military—up to 20 years.
Address-Based Sales Tax Calculator for Small Businesses (HF 136)
Currently, small businesses that travel and sell goods in multiple parts of the state must figure out the rate of sales tax for every local city and county—a hassle that costs them time and money. This bill would require the Department of Revenue to refund what they paid someone to help them calculate an array of sales tax rates and provide an address-based sales calculator online.
Honor and Remember Flag (HF 146)
Designates the Honor and Remember Flag as an official symbol for service members who have lost their lives in service of country and encourages the flag to be displayed at certain public locations. Several states have already adopted this flag.
Alternative Facilities Revenue Program for Forest Lake ISD 831 (HF 87)
Allows the Forest Lake School District to participate in the alternative facilities revenue program.
Extended Market Value Exclusion for Disabled Vet Spouses (HF 147)
Extends the market value exclusion for the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran from eight years to indefinite as long as he/she remains in the home and/or does not remarry.
Grant Request for the USS Minnesota (HF 127)
Provides grant funding for the new submarine USS Minnesota’s commissioning and related activities.
Big Marine Lake Veterans Rest Camp Improvements (HF 129)
Provides funding for the Big Marine Veterans Rest Camp to tie their park trails in with a Washington County park trail system and also provides funding for playground equipment for the children of disabled veterans.
If you have any ideas for legislation or input on what’s happening at the Capitol, I welcome you to contact me this session. I am here to serve you!
As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of being your state representative.