Washington, D.C. – The Portable Certification of Spouses (PCS) Act, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), and Martha McSally (R-Arizona), was included in the Chairman’s mark of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.
The PCS Act will improve the portability of occupational licenses from state to state. The bill will also help alleviate the burden military spouses bear when having to re-register a small business in a new state each time a service member changes station. The legislation would allow the Department of Defense to use defense dollars to help states come up with universal standards for professional licenses, allowing military spouses to start work soon after they arrive at a new assignment. By making it easier for military spouses to continue their professional careers, the PCS Act is expected to help the Armed Forces retain skilled soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.
“One-in-three military spouses work in a field that requires an occupational license, and too many of them are forced to re-certify every time they move between states. The PCS Act will ensure those spouses can pursue their careers uninterrupted, even while they’re moving their family from state to state and base to base. Today, we learned the PCS act is one step closer to becoming law. Relief is coming for our military families,” said Cotton.
“Whenever we can find ways to support military spouses, we should act,” said Shaheen. “Military spouse unemployment and underemployment is a significant problem, which is why we need to do all that we can to support those who are entrepreneurs and have professional licenses. By adding this legislation to the defense bill, we’re taking an important step forward in helping military spouses cut through needless red tape as they practice their licensed professions and move their businesses from state to state. I will continue my efforts to support military spouses and will work to grow the bipartisan consensus for this measure as the NDAA is considered by the full Senate.”
“Family readiness is military readiness,” said McSally, “Our legislation removes critical barriers to military spouses fully contributing in the workforce simply because their loved one serves in uniform. We must unleash their full potential, and that’s what our legislation will do. This is a critical step to moving it forward.”
Over 34% of military spouses work in fields that require a state license in order to practice. These spouses are often required to recertify and pay to recertify this license every time they move between states with their spouse. Re-certification has become too long, expensive, detrimental to the careers of spouses, and prohibitive financially to military families who could benefit from two household incomes instead of one. This process often effects a service member’s desire to stay in the military long-term.
This legislation would impact spouses working in fields such as health-related occupations and education. 56 percent of licensed military spouses in health-related occupations and 29 percent in education respectively. The fields which could potentially benefit from this legislation include, but are not limited to, the following: teachers, advance practice nurses, physician’s assistants, occupational therapists, dentists, dental hygienists, nutritionists, counselors, social workers, veterinarians, cosmetologists, and realtors.
- Paul Larkin, “Eliminating State Occupational Licensing Barriers to the Enlistment and Retention of Servicemembers: The Portable Certification of Spouses Act of 2019,” The Heritage Foundation, May 21, 2019
- Shoshanna Weissmann & C. Jarrett Dieterle, “Bipartisan Help for Military Spouses,” Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2019
- Patricia Kime, “Proposed Legislation Would Ease Professional Licensing Process for Military Spouses,” Military.com, May 9, 2019
Original article source: http://www.cotton.senate.gov?p=press_release&id=1135 | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council