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NC Assembly OKs Vet, Spouse-friendly Jobs Bill

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The General Assembly has unanimously passed a bill designed to make it easier for military spouses get jobs when they move to North Carolina military bases, and for former military personnel to work here.

The House gave the bill a final vote Monday; the legislation now awaits the governor's signature.

The new law would help military families in two ways:

Military spouses whose jobs require a professional license won't have to obtain a North Carolina license if they already have a license with equivalent or tougher standards from another state.

Former soldiers and other military personnel who have received training from the military in a field that requires a professional license in the civilian workforce could use their military certifications to obtain a state license provided that these are equivalent or greater than the state's standards.

North Carolina requires licensing in dozens of professional specialties. Some examples are social work, massage therapy, locksmithing and electrical contracting.

Several professions, including medicine and law, are exempt from the bill; those professionals would need to obtain a North Carolina license.

Robin Bell, a stylist at Salon 360 in Fayetteville, said the law change should help military spouses obtain work. "It sounds like a win-win to me, as long as the requirements are pretty equal in each state. Isn't that just common sense?" she said.

Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum also hopes the bill is helpful.

"As is the case in areas surrounding Fort Bragg, spouses of our soldiers find it hard to locate quality high-paying jobs. Assistance provided by this bill hopefully will help ease their employment needs and allow potential employers to take advantages of their skills and qualities," he said in a written statement.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Grier Martin of Wake County and Republican Rep. Ric Killian of Charlotte. Both are officers in the Army Reserve.

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