Dr. Biden Urges Governors to Help Military Spouses
By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2013 Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, today urged the nation’s governors to get behind the effort to allow military spouses to transfer professional licenses from state to state.
Speaking to the National Governors Association at the White House as part of the “Joining Forces” initiative that she and First Lady Michelle Obama have championed, Biden noted that 28 states have passed laws to facilitate license portability for teachers, nurses, social workers and other professionals licensed in one state but who have to move to another when their military spouse gets a new assignment.
Military spouses move 10 times more often than their civilian counterparts, Biden said, and 35 percent of those spouses have jobs that require professional licenses.
Only 11 states had pro-spouse legislation when she and the first lady spoke to the governors last year and asked for their help, Biden noted. “And you stepped up,” she added, “because you appreciate how much our military families do for our country every day.”
In addition to the 28 states that have passed laws for military spouse license portability, Biden said, 13 more have introduced legislation.
Governors of states with a small active-duty military population might think that the issue doesn’t affect them, Biden said, but she pointed out that every state has National Guard or Reserve units.
“And with so many families -- military families transitioning out of the military now and in the next few years -- they’ll be focused on finding good jobs, good schools and good communities, whether there is a military base nearby or not, she added.
For the sake of military families, Biden told the governors, it’s important that all 50 states enact license portability laws. But that’s just the first step, she said.
“We hope all of you will reach out to your bases and your National Guard and Reserve communities [and] talk with the military spouses -- I’m sure many of you already do this already -- and make sure that these laws are working for our military families,” she said.