Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, spoke at the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hearing Wednesday about his bipartisan bill, the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act, H.R. 2650. Garcia’s bill would give military spouses with a valid professional license in one state, reciprocity in another state where their spouse is stationed on military orders.
Garcia said that one of the biggest challenges in the military community comes with the process of relocating. The professional licenses of military spouses frequently do not transfer between states, which results in unemployment and service families changing from dual-income to single-income status.
“Right now, military spouse unemployment is over 20%. This is significantly of magnitude higher than the national average, and as many as 34% of our military spouses on active-duty, of active-duty members, work in some sort of field or profession that does require a license,” said Garcia.
Garcia added this bill would not only benefit military families, but also the communities they are stationed in as well.
“This is ultimately a very critical piece of legislation that will again be a win-win-win. A win for the service members and their families…it’s a win for our communities who now have the ability to tap into talented nurses, teachers, paralegals, doctors — desperately needed professions. And it’s a win for our nation’s security,” said Garcia. “It’s an opportunity to recruit a little bit better, to retain definitely a little bit better, and keep our precious talent on the books for longest service terms and ultimately lead to stronger national security.”
Currently, people with professional licenses are required to acquire a new professional license when moving their practice to a new state. For most, moving their profession to a new state is a choice but for military spouses it is often not a choice. Garcia’s bill is designed to remove employment barriers and improve job security and stability for military families when moving on military orders.
The bipartisan Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act has 31 cosponsors in the House and was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.