New law makes supporting veterans convenient

Now law, HB 1248 will assist veterans and also provide generous, charitable North Dakotans the opportunity to contribute to one of the most important causes in the state.

With broad support in the North Dakota Legislature, Gov. Doug Burgum then signed it on April 8.

The new law, originally sponsored by Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, D-Fargo, adds a checkoff on the state income tax form to enable North Dakotans to contribute to the Veterans Postwar Trust Fund. The fund assists qualifying veterans and their eligible dependents with unmet medical needs, including dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids and transportation to medical appointments.

The Veterans Postwar Trust Fund has been a permanent trust fund under the North Dakota Constitution since 1997. Earnings from the fund are administered by the Administrative Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Under the new law, which flew through both the House and Senate, contributors will be able to voluntarily contribute a portion of their income tax refunds or add to their tax liability beginning with taxable years after Dec. 31, 2018.

Rick Olek of Fargo, a Vietnam veteran and volunteer at the Fargo VA hospital, is credited with the idea for the legislation. He rightly noted that both the state government and federal government have many programs for veterans in place, there are always gaps and this is one way to help provide funding so veterans’ needs can be met.

In addition to the obvious benefit to the Veterans Postwar Trust Fund and thus veterans, the new law will make it easier for those willing to contribute to do so.

North Dakotans are both charitable by nature and extremely supportive of servicemembers of today and of the past. The new law should only enhance our charitable giving opportunities.

Minot Daily News congratulates the legislature and Gov. Burgum for a job well done on an important new law sure to enhance the lives and welfare of our veterans.