RICHMOND, Va. - Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation Thursday to expedite the occupational and professional licensure process for military spouses during a special ceremony that kicked off the quarterly Virginia Military Advisory Council meeting.
The special ceremony was held at the Virginia War Memorial joined by Blue Star Families CEO and Board President Kathy Roth-Douquet, Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, State Senator David Suetterlein, Delegate Rodney Willett, and Delegate Carrie Coyner.
“As an Army veteran and as a Virginian, I am committed to ensuring the Commonwealth continues to provide an environment where our veterans and military families can thrive,” said Governor Northam. “Complex rules about license equivalence and the portability of certifications too often result in the unemployment or underemployment of military spouses. This legislation will enable the spouses of the men and women who serve our country to maintain their professional licenses and continue their careers in Virginia with a streamlined and simple process.”
Governor Northam was also joined by representatives of the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission to sign a Regional Intergovernmental Support Agreement that will improve the delivery of resources to their military installations in Northern Virginia.
The support agreement strengthens the partnership between the Department of Transportation, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region – Marine Corps Base Quantico, and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
Virginia’s existing application process for military spouses requires licensing boards to determine if a military spouse’s out-of-state license is equivalent within 20 days and issue an automatic one-year temporary license.
The bill is designed to expand access and eligibility to the spouses of service members in all surrounding jurisdictions and expand access to spouses of National Guardsmen who are active on federal orders to deploy oversees. The legislation also promises to expand eligibility to the spouses of recently transitioned service members and grant the Commonwealth’s licensing boards greater authority to determine a substantially equivalent license.
“This enhanced process will help our military spouses find employment opportunities quicker and without the stress of worrying if their credentials will carry over to Virginia,” said Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos L. Hopkins. “Implementing innovative ways to support our military families is one of the reasons Virginia continually ranks as one of the best states for service members, veterans, and their families.”
According to the United States Department of Labor, more than 34 percent of all military spouses in the labor force require an occupational or professional license.
For more information on the new legislation, click here.