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Lawmakers consider new reporting requirements for VA grants

A measure to better ensure grants given by the Department of Veterans Affairs are used most effectively was held over Monday by the House Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Mark Wiens (R-Lake Elmo), HF3790 would institute new reporting requirements for those grants.

Wiens said the bill, which he calls the “Veterans Accountability Act,” would formalize a reporting process for much of the data the department already collects.

“My intent is to drive after what is the most effective for Minnesota veterans and is accountable to our hard-working taxpaying citizens,” Wiens said.

Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids), the committee chair, said work on the bill would continue and the department would have a chance to weigh in and make sure everything it needs is included.

As of now, the agency would be required to provide the Legislature an annual report describing the purpose and amount of each grant it awarded. Reporting requirements would also include:

  • the number of veterans and active service members, and their families, the grantee serves;
  • the amount of other state and federal grants the grantee has received in the most recent fiscal year;
  • the amount of any previous grants the agency has awarded the grantee;
  • the organization’s charitable giving ratio; and
  • the number of veterans and veteran family members who have successfully completed the programming offered by the grantee and the criteria used to determine that. Reporting would not be required for grantees who do not offer programming that requires completion or can be measured by objective standards.

Grant recipients would also be required to provide an explanation if that money is used to serve veterans or their family members who live in another state.

“These success metrics are drawn for those who are most deserving in our society, our veterans who have served and put everything on the line for us and our families,” Wiens said.

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