Bill Would Help Spouses with Professional Licenses Return to Work Sooner After Relocation
(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Cleopatra Tucker, Troy Singleton, Timothy Eustace, Pamela Lampitt, Lou Greenwald and John Wisniewski that would allow nonresident military spouses moving to New Jersey to seek temporary licensure from certain professional and occupational licensing boards received final legislative approval Monday and now heads to the governor's desk.
The bill (A-3427) would provide a "nonresident military spouse" the opportunity to seek a temporary licensure with the option to apply for an extension at the end of the year. The bill defines a "nonresident military spouse" as a person who does not live in New Jersey, but is married to an active duty member of the Armed Forces who has been transferred here as part of their service, is legally domiciled in the state or has moved to the state on a permanent change-of-station basis.
"This is an opportunity for the state to help military families bridge the employment gap when transferred and see little disruption in earning an income for their family," said Tucker (D-Essex). "In a year or two-year time, if the individual has permanently relocated to New Jersey, this temporary license will give them time to seek permanent licensure while continuing to make a living."
"Frequent relocation is a part of military life. New Jersey understands that," said Singleton (D- Burlington). "The bill would help ease transitions for nonmilitary spouses with licensed professional careers by providing an opportunity to continue to do what they are trained for, earn an income and support their families.
"The legislation is consistent with legislative efforts being made in other states across the nation," said Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic). "New Jersey should make it easier for qualified military spouses to maintain licensure and pursue employment quickly after relocation."
"A military family depending on two incomes to support their household does not deserve to encounter trouble in securing employment, especially, if the spouse is a licensed professional," said Lampitt (D- Camden/Burlington). "This bill will help smooth their transition to New Jersey and make it easier to continue to support their family."
"The sacrifices of our military troops are also made by the people who love them, their family," said Greenwald (D- Camden/Burlington). "Relocating often can be hectic and disconcerting for many in the military. New Jersey should help simplify the job aspect of the transition so they may continue to support their families without too much interference."
"Finding work in this economy is hard enough. Doing so in a new state makes the process that much more difficult," said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). "Relocating at a moment's notice is just one of the many sacrifices that our military families make for our country. The least we can do is make the job hunt easier so they can provide for their families as they settle into their new homes."
The bill directs the several professional and occupational licensing boards in the Division of Consumer Affairs to establish criteria for the issuance of a temporary courtesy license to a nonresident military spouse so that said spouse may lawfully practice the profession or occupation regulated by that board on a temporary basis, subject to the requirements of the bill where applicable.
A nonresident military spouse who applies for a temporary courtesy license is entitle to receive said license, if, when applicable, he or she:
- holds a current license to practice the profession or occupation in another jurisdiction (the District of Columbia, a territory of the United States, or a state other than New Jersey) that the board determines has licensure requirements that are equivalent to those adopted by the board;
- was engaged in the active practice of the profession or occupation in another jurisdiction for at least two of the five years immediately preceding the date of application for the temporary courtesy license, for which purpose relevant full-time experience in the discharge of official duties in the Armed Forces or an agency of the federal government is to be credited in the counting of years of service;
- has not committed an act in another jurisdiction that would have constituted grounds for the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license to practice the profession or occupation in this State;
- has not been disciplined, and is not the subject of an investigation of an unresolved complaint, or a review procedure or disciplinary proceeding, which was conducted by, or is pending before, a professional or occupational licensing or credentialing entity in another jurisdiction;
- pays for, and authorizes the board to conduct, a criminal history record background check of that person;
- pays any fee the board reasonably requires for the issuance of the temporary courtesy license;
- satisfies the requirements of any law, rule, or regulation providing for licensure by endorsement or reciprocity;
- has satisfied any continuing education requirements in the jurisdiction where that person holds a current license, and at the discretion of the board, completes such continuing education hours or credits as may be required by the board;
- successfully completes a New Jersey jurisprudence examination or any other examination as required by the board; and
- complies with any other requirements that the board may reasonably determine are necessary to effectuate the purposes of the bill.
The revocation or suspension of a nonresident military spouse's license in the nonresident military spouse's state of residence or any jurisdiction in which the nonresident military spouse held licensure will automatically cause the same revocation or suspension in New Jersey if based upon a charge or commission of a criminal offense, competency, or harmful or inappropriate behavior.
A board may require a nonresident military spouse who has not been actively practicing the profession in another jurisdiction during the two years immediately preceding the application to undergo additional training, testing, mentoring, monitoring or education should it deem it necessary.
The bill was approved 78-0 by the Assembly on Monday, and 38-0 by the Senate in November.