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JBA commander, 11 MDSS speak to state assembly on updated military spouse reciprocity

By Staff Sgt. Jared Duhon 11th Wing Public Affairs

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Col. Andrew Purath, 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews commander, and Master Sgt. Heather Kirscher, 11th Medical Support Squadron First Sergeant, spoke to both the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee on Senate Bill 280, Feb. 6, 2020 and to the Economic Matters Committee on House Bill 349, Feb 11, 2020.

 

Senate Bill 280 and House Bill 349 (Occupational and Professional Licensing - Service Members, Veterans, and Military Spouses - Revisions to Reciprocity Requirements), alter requirements for service members, veterans, and military spouses to receive occupational or professional licenses from the Maryland Department of Labor.

 

“Last year, we made headway on this topic and got an expected temporary license process,” said Purath. “This year, [Maryland] Gov. [Larry] Hogan has jumped onboard and he wants to get this done.”

 

In 2019, Maryland Senate Bill 852 provided a temporary solution for spouses who held an occupational or professional license when they moved to the Maryland. Senate Bill 250 and House Bill 349 will now allow for a permanent solution.

 

“So long as you have a license in good standing in another state, for one year prior to arriving, Maryland will automatically recognize that license and issue a state of Maryland license,” said Purath.

 

These bills can have a direct impact on the mission and can make permanent change of station transient easier.

 

“We want to encourage our families to integrate into the area and feel welcomed and valued as community members," said Kirscher, to both committees. "Integrating into the local workforce and developing social bonds in their licensed career field is an essential step to connecting with the community and improving their quality of life and impression of their time stationed at Joint Base Andrews."

 

Purath felt this bill is important to help lower stressors at home when relating to employment.

 

"We ask a lot of our Airmen, who make sacrifices each and every day to perform the mission,” said Purath. "Knowing that resiliency and retainability of our military force is often tied to stability at home, I fully support legislation that eases the burden of stress on spouse employment."