Many of the police officers, firefighters and paramedics in Minnesota municipalities are members of the military reserves and National Guard. When those workers are deployed for military service, towns and cities often have to pay overtime to remaining first responders.
A bill before the state Legislature would provide state funds to municipalities to cover those additional costs, which amount to an estimated $2 million each year. For example, St. Paul spent $390,000 for military-related firefighter overtime in 2012.
The bill would also give veterans preference for state government jobs.
Sen. Sandy Pappas of St. Paul and Rep. Erik Simonson of Duluth sponsored The Minnesota Veterans Preference Act as a way to both assist veterans and also ensure municipalities can continue to provide needed basic services.