California lawmakers pass bill for license reciprocity for military spouses
by Staff Sgt.
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – New state license reciprocity legislation was signed and passed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oct. 8, 2021, easing restrictions for veterans and spouses of California active-duty service members to actively practice certain professions or vocations.
The bill, AB 107, goes into effect July 1, 2023, and grants spouses whose out-of-state licensing is in good standing an “expedited, temporary authorization to practice while meeting state-specific requirements for a period of at least one year.”
The expansion includes all licenses under the Department of Consumer Affairs. This includes, but is not limited to, the boards for: accountancy, architecture, barbering/cosmetology, dental, engineers, medical, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physical assistant, psychology, veterinary, and real estate.
“We couldn’t have done this without support from our community partners,” said Col. Corey Simmons, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander. “Our community is truly unmatched here - they continuously go above and beyond to advocate for our Airmen and families.”
The bill’s passing came as a result of concerted efforts from multiple state, civic, and military leaders. Sen. (Calif.) Bill Dodd, bill’s sponsor, represents the 3rd Senate District, which is home to Travis Air Force Base. Dodd’s advocacy along with key members of the Travis Community Consortium and the California Defense Communities Alliance sought to amplify the needs of military spouses and the impact of limited licensure portability within the state.
“AB 107 was vital legislation for California to pass,” said Sandy Person, Travis Community Consortium executive director. “The support for licensure portability for our military spouses was a win-win for our entire workforce and both state and military economies.”
For military families, constantly moving to bases across state lines, spouse license reciprocity often poses a challenge. Military spouses seeking to continue their professional careers are often faced with state-specific vocational licensing requirements. In order to gain recertification or qualification, they can face costly and time-consuming processes from state-to-state.
California hosts more than 62,000 active-duty military spouses, the highest in the U.S. Of that, it is estimated that 24 percent of military spouses seeking work cannot obtain work, 42 percent of those who are working are paid lower than their education and work experience levels, and 34 percent of military spouses are working in a field requiring an occupational license.
“California currently stands as the state with the highest active-duty service member population,” said Persons. “We, the TCC, are thrilled that California’s signature legislation will now provide timely professional license portability to our highly skilled and phenomenal military spouses! We are grateful to all our communities, mayors, and defense organizations in voicing their faithful support.”
Interested applicants will need to meet the below requirements to be granted the temporary authorization from the Department of Consumer Affairs:
- Applicant must provide evidence they are a military spouse
- Hold a current, valid license for their profession
- Submit an affidavit conferring the above, validated by original licensing jurisdiction
- Never had license denied, revoked or suspended
- Never been disciplined by a licensing entity in another jurisdiction or subject of an unresolved complaint, review or issue
- Submit to a background check
- Must pass a California law and ethics exam as otherwise required by the board for the profession for which seeking licensure.
“This was a good day for Team Travis,” said Simmons. “The military demands a lot from our spouses every day. This bill not only enhances Airman and family resilience, but also strengthens our ability to retain talented Airmen.”
To learn more about eligible boards under the Department of Consumer Affairs, visit https://www.dca.ca.gov/about_us/entities.shtml.
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