Licensing Reciprocity Measure Intended to Ease Burdens on Working Military Spouses

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) on Tuesday helped introduce to make it easier for military spouses with valid professional licenses to continue their careers wherever their spouse is serving on military orders.

Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of Utah Senator Mike Lee’s Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act.  This bipartisan legislation would give military spouses with valid professional licenses in one state reciprocity in the state where their spouse is assigned.

“Sacrifice is common for service members and their families, but we should act to ease those burdens where we can,” Hyde-Smith said.  “This legislation would alleviate the costs and time associated with unnecessary state-to-state relicensing requirements and, ultimately, help military spouses to fulfill their career goals.  This policy would be a win for military families and local businesses looking for qualified workers.”

The measure would provide reciprocity to a military spouse with a license in good standing.  The spouse must still comply with the state’s standards of practice, discipline, and fulfillment of any continuing education requirements.  As a state function, protected under the Tenth Amendment, the bill does not preempt the states’ rightful authority to set their own licensing standards.

In February 2020, the Department of Defense issued its “Military Spouse Licensure: State Best Practices and Strategies for Achieving Reciprocity” report that indicated military spouses face a 24 percent unemployment rate, which is driven by the mobile military life and new professional licensure requirements associated with interstate moves.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are among the cosponsors of the measure.

A one-page summary of the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act is available here.

Press Release

4/14/2021