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Sens. Cruz, Lee, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Military Families, Give Spouses Professional License Reciprocity

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act, bipartisan legislation that would give military spouses with valid professional licenses in one state reciprocity in the state where their spouse is currently serving on military orders. U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) has introduced companion legislation in the House.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Roger Wicker (R-Miss), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).

In order to receive reciprocity, a license must be in good standing; and 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.

Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said:

"The families of our brave men and women in uniform make sacrifices for our way of life every day, and they shouldn't be penalized for moving to accommodate their military member's service. I am proud to join Sen. Lee on this bill to ensure military spouses can have reciprocity with their vocational licenses and not be forced to face burdensome bureaucratic red-tape in order to simply practice their profession in a new state."

Sen. Lee said:

"Faced with a 50-state patchwork of licensing laws, military spouses are forced to spend thousands of dollars and hours to obtain licensure every time they move to a new state under military orders. This bill will help lift that unjust burden on our military families - who sacrifice so much to protect our nation - by ensuring that spouses can receive the licensing reciprocity they need across state lines."

Rep. Garcia said:

"Military families have enough things to worry about, they should not have to also worry about getting a new professional license every time their spouse receives new orders. As a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, I understand the burden military families carry when they have to move locations. Our men and women in uniform and their families sacrifice so much for this nation and they deserve all the support they can get. I am grateful to Senator Mike Lee for joining me in this effort to remove this burdensome obstacle that many military families face and help ensure our military families have the support that they deserve."

Sen. Daines said:

"Montana military spouses make great sacrifices for our nation. Many Montana families move often and it's difficult for spouses that have occupational licenses to continue their careers after each move to a new state. We must cut this red tape that puts undue burdens on our military families who serve our country selflessly."

Sen. Barrasso said:

"In Wyoming, we recognize the sacrifice that our service members and their families make every day. Military families often move every two to three years. The last thing they need to worry about is spending time and money trying to maintain their careers in a new state. Our bipartisan bill will make it easier for military spouses to transition the professional licenses they've already worked hard to obtain when they move to a new duty station."

Sen. Tillis said:

"Military spouses serve our country every day, and they deserve career opportunities wherever their families are stationed. I have always been an advocate for our servicemembers and their families, and this bill helps military spouses carry professional licensure wherever the country may need them."

Sen. Blackburn said:

"The United States Armed Forces are not just made up of brave men and women in uniform but also the families at home who make their service possible. For spouses frequently moving across state lines, keeping up with state-level professional licensing regulations can be a near-impossible task. The Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act is an essential piece of bipartisan legislation to remove bureaucratic red tape and support our nation's heroes."

Sen. Hyde-Smith said:

"Sacrifice is common for service members and their families, but we should act to ease those burdens where we can," Sen. 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."

Sen. Moran added:

"A servicemember's oath to protect and defend our nation impacts their families as well, and military spouses often have to spend hundreds of dollars obtaining new professional licenses every time their spouse receives orders to move to a new state. This legislation would ensure military spouses with professional licenses are able to utilize their credentials in each new state their spouse is stationed without going through the costly and time-consuming process of obtaining a new license."

Sen. Cramer said:

"Half of military spouses work in a field requiring licensing. Our bill would make it easier for them to keep their jobs when they and their families are transferred to a different state. It is a common sense way to improve their livelihood and attract more talent to bases across the country."

Sen. Hoeven said:

"Our military families make significant sacrifices in service to our nation, including relocating often due to new military orders. This legislation would help ease the transition to a new state by making it easier for a military spouse with a professional license to continue working. This is an important way to show our support for the families of those who are serving our nation."