Northam signs legislation easing transitions for military families

Northam signs legislation easing transitions for military families
Governor Ralph Northam holding a press briefing in Richmond (Source: VDM)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation on Thursday that expedites the licensing process for military spouses.

The expedited application process gives licensing boards 20 days to determine if a military spouse’s out-of-state license is equivalent to Virginia’s. The boards then provides an automatic one-year temporary license, allowing the applicant to immediately enter the workforce in their new community.

“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 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.”

House Bill 967 and Senate Bill 981 improve Virginia’s expedited licensing process for military spouses by:

  • Expanding access and eligibility to the spouses of service members in all jurisdictions
  • Expanding access to the spouses of National Guardsmen who are active on federal orders to deploy oversees
  • Expanding eligibility to the spouses of recently transitioned service members
  • Granting Virginia’s licensing boards greater authority to determine a substantially equivalent license

“Military spouses were hobbled before COVID-19, and our research forecasts that military spouse unemployment and underemployment rates could climb upwards of 30 percent and 77 percent, respectively, as we emerge from this public health and economic crisis,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “That’s why the expansion of Virginia’s expedited licensure policy is so key—it removes a critical barrier to military spouses working in the fields of their training. We are grateful to Governor Northam and the Virginia legislature for taking action on this important issue.” 

When signing the legislation, Northam was joined at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond 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 and Delegates Rodney Willett and Carrie Coyner.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.