I wanted to start my update this month with some important information for retired military members. Congress provided a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Open Season in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The SBP Open Season ends on January 1, 2024. Go to this link for more information.
The SBP Open Season allows retirees receiving retired pay, eligible members, or former members awaiting retired pay who were NOT enrolled in SBP or RCSBP (Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan) as of December 22, 2022, to enroll.
The SBP Open Season also allows eligible members and former members who were enrolled in SBP or RCSBP (Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan) as of December 22, 2022, to permanently discontinue their SBP coverage.
The 2023 NDAA SBP Open Season does not allow for changes to existing SBP coverage. Additional info from the U.S. Army can be found here.
Energy Assistance Program
Open now until May 31, 2024, the Energy Assistance Program helps eligible Minnesotans pay their energy bills. This program is free and provides benefits up to $1,400, with additional support to respond to emergencies. Both renters and homeowners can qualify, and eligibility is based on income and household size. This program is federally funded and administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. You can access the application materials here.
Drivers Licenses for All
As of October 1st, all Minnesota residents are eligible to earn a Driver’s License, regardless of immigration or citizenship status. This is a major move toward safer roads, as it will allow us to decrease the number of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on our roads and increase the amount of title and taxpaying Minnesotans driving on our streets and highways.
High School Page Program
Over the last 45 years the High School Page Program has provided students with an opportunity to learn and serve in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The program gives students a unique, challenging, and enriching educational experience. Throughout their week in Saint Paul, High School Page Program participants are engaged in activities designed to help them understand the legislative process, state government, public policy, public service, and much more. The Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program is open to all Minnesota high school students in their junior year. Program participants are selected in the fall of each year based on a formal process that includes an application, faculty recommendation, and an essay. You can learn more here.
Free COVID tests
Minnesotans can order free rapid-antigen COVID tests through the federal government’s at-home testing program. Each household can order up to four tests to be delivered directly to your home. These tests are intended to be used by the end of this year and will begin shipping this week. For more information or to place your order, you can visit COVIDTests.gov.
Stay Connected with the Legislature
During the legislative interim, you can still stay in touch with State Capitol activities by going to the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services website.
I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can find my information on my House website. Also, make sure to ‘like’ my Facebook page.
It is an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.
Representative Jerry Newton
367 State Office Building 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155