COLUMBUS—State Senators Peggy Lehner
(R-Kettering) and Bill Beagle
(R-Tipp City) this week introduced new legislation aimed at smoothing the employment transition for military husbands and wives who relocate to Ohio with their active duty spouse. Specifically, the bill would require occupational licensing boards to reciprocate other state's licenses while they are stationed in Ohio.
“Ohio is committed to making the transition for military families with orders to our state as seamless as possible,” said Lehner. “Honoring the occupational licenses they earned in another state will allow them to find new employment in their field and continue to help support their service-member and family.”
The bill will allow agencies to issue these certificates for up to six years, giving individuals substantial time to become licensed under Ohio law while still enabling them to practice their professions upon relocation to the state. This aims to solve a primary issue reported by service members when they transfer to a new location for duty.
"Through this legislation, we can help protect the financial stability of our service men and women, their spouses, and ultimately their families by simply making licenses temporarily valid in Ohio," said Beagle. “This would solve one of the biggest concerns of military members and their families when relocating to our state."
Identified as a top priority by the Department of Defense, the legislation could impact Ohio's competitiveness in attracting new missions for Ohio's many military bases.
Additionally, State Representatives Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) and Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) introduced a companion bill in the House earlier this week identical to the bill introduced in the Senate.
“It is imperative that we as a state do all that we can for the women and men that sacrifice so much for our state and country,” said Representative Perales of the Ohio Veterans' Caucus. “House Bill 716 will ensure that the spouses of our uniformed service members can not only practice their professional craft but also enrich the communities that they will call home during the time they’re in Ohio.”
“Out of an estimated 3,600 military spouses in Ohio, 35 percent of them work in a profession that requires a license or certificate. They have worked hard to earn their licensure and actively worked in another state,” said Butler. “This bill takes care of Ohio’s military members and their families who have already sacrificed so much for our country by removing the huge hassle they can face in continuing to work in their profession when moving to a new state for active duty.”
The companion legislation will now be assigned to committee in their respective chambers for consideration and input from stakeholders.