By a unanimous 129-0 vote in the Minnesota State House of Representatives on April 11, HF143 was passed. On April 18, the state Senate voted 64-0 in favor of the bill. After the house approved the amended senate version, again 129-0, it's heading to Governor Mark Dayton for his signature.
The measure authorizes the placement of a plaque in the Court of Honor on the Capitol grounds to honor Minnesota’s American Indian military veterans. Rep. John Persell (DFL-Bemidji) sponsored the bill.
Erma Vizenor, chair of the White Earth Nation and Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, has been working on this since 2005, reports the Twin Cities Daily Planet.
In addition to honoring veterans, the plaque would promote a better understanding of American Indians’ involvement in military service, Blake Johnson, a lobbyist for the Prairie Island Indian Community said at a House hearing on the bill, according to the newspaper.
“American Indians have served proudly during peacetime and in every one of our nation’s wars and conflicts,” Johnson said.
Time and space are factors, as only nine spaces remain in the Court of Honor. According to Paul Mandell, principal planner and zoning administrator for the Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board. Five plaques have been added since about 2007, and Minnesota has yet to place plaques honoring all veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars.
For more info on HF143 and to track its progress in the Minnesota State Senate, click here.