White House Moves to Cut Red Tape Around Military Spouse Job Licensing

Mrs. Karen Pence, the Second Lady of the United States, speaks to military spouses July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. (U.S. Air Force photo/Melody Wolff)
Mrs. Karen Pence, the Second Lady of the United States, speaks to military spouses July 25, 2018, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. (U.S. Air Force photo/Melody Wolff)

White House officials plan to work with individual states to streamline occupational licensing requirements, the second lady of the United States said Tuesday.

Currently, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books designed to make it easier for military spouses to move professional licenses across state lines. However, the rules vary by state. While one state, for example, may simply accept another state's professional license, others may accept it for only a year or not at all.

Those inconsistencies create barriers for military spouses that the Trump administration wants to work with states to resolve, Karen Pence, spouse of Vice President Mike Pence, told military family members, advocates and Army officials Tuesday at the annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference. She said she plans to address the National Governors Association on the issue early next year during a reception at her home.

"I intend to take that opportunity to reach out to them and say this is something we need your help with," she said during remarks at an AUSA family forum Oct. 9. "In the Trump administration, we feel it's imperative that we support our military spouses and their families."

Pence said Pentagon officials have renewed efforts to work with states on the issue through their state liaison office. By coordinating with individual state licensing boards, she said they hope to encourage states not just to change their licensure laws and rules, but also leverage the ones they already have on the books

"The problem is the [state] boards don't always give the information to the person who answers the phone," she said.

A measure in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act allows the Defense Department to reimburse military spouses up to $500 for professional license fees faced after a permanent change of station (PCS) move. Pentagon officials, however, have not announced how or when that reimbursement will be offered.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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