U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND) helped introduce the “Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act” today, a bipartisan bill requiring states to recognize the occupational license from another state of a service member’s spouse if the service member and their spouse are moved across state lines.
“Half of military spouses work in a field requiring licensing,” said Senator Cramer, a Senate Armed Services Committee member. “Our bill makes it easier for them to keep their jobs when they and their families are transferred to a different state. It is a common sense way to improve their livelihood and attract more talent to bases across the country.”
“Our military families make significant sacrifices in service to our nation, including entire households often having to relocate due to new military orders,” said Senator Hoeven, a Senate Defense Appropriations Committee member. “Our legislation would help ease the transition to a new state by providing reciprocity for military spouses who hold a professional license. This is one important step that we can take to support the families of our servicemembers and reduce disruptions in the lives of those who defend our nation.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is leading the legislation.
“Military families consistently rate Utah as a top destination to serve, and a big reason why is the work our state has done to make sure professional military spouses licensed in one state can also work in Utah,” said Senator Lee. “The American people absolutely depend on the brave men and women of our nation’s Armed Services, and the families of those brave men and women deserve all the support we can give them. This bill helps do that by making it easier for military spouses to work when they have to transition to a new duty station.”
Senators Cramer, Hoeven, and Lee are joined on the bill by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Martha McSally (R-AZ), John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), James Risch (R-ID), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mitt Romney (R-UT), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Thune (R-SD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
The average military family moves every two to three years. According to a recent study on military spouses in the workplace by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative, 67 percent of military spouses say that they had to quit a job because of a move in duty station, even though military spouse unemployment rates are three to six times the national unemployment rate.
This bill would amend the Service-members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) of 2003 to require states to recognize service member’s spouses occupational license from another state if the service member and the service member’s spouse move across state lines on account of a Permanent Change of Station order. SCRA already provides a number of protections for active duty service members and their families, including rental agreements, civil judicial proceedings, installment contracts, and credit card and mortgage interest rates. This legislation would not preempt state law on how the licenses are used, as military spouses would still be required to comply with standards of practice, discipline, and continuing education requirements.