Spouse alert: changes to state licensing deliberated

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves and Public Affairs Specialist Kiersten McCutchan
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
A bill waiting for a vote in the Montana Senate has the potential to help military spouses expand their work options in the state.

In early February of this year, the Montana House of Representatives passed House Bill 105, which addresses the issue of occupational licensure once moving to Montana from somewhere else.

The community-at-large of spouses and dependents, as well as military leadership, have voiced concerns over permanent changes of station to another state or region where their occupational license may not be honored.

This is a real fear for many military families receiving orders. If there are strict rules regarding occupational licenses, a transitioning family could potentially lose substantial income.

If the senate passes the bill, things could change for the better. Some restrictions could be eased and reciprocity rules on occupational licensure in Montana could help create more work opportunities.

The agreement the State of Montana currently supports in regards to cross-states-lines licensures includes Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), Physicians Compact and Physical Therapy Compact.

"HB 105 is not a complete 'fix' of the occupational licensure issue," said Tammie Perreault with the Department of Defense military community and family policy, defense-state liaison office.

This means that even though the legislation is approved to open up reciprocity agreements, Montana will still need to create the agreements with other states.

States that have broadened licensure opportunities include Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, where more jobs are seen for military spouses and dependents.

341st Missile Wing Vice Commander Col. Peter Bonetti testified in early February with Montana State Rep. Kate Sullivan (D-HD 89), the sponsor of the bill, at the hearing for the house. He also testified at the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Committee on Feb. 19.

"I was honored to testify on behalf of missile wing military families on the licensure processing," he said. "I am extremely encouraged by the support of the State of Montana for military families."

The missile wing leadership has worked closely with Montana Defense Alliance and Adjutant General for Montana Maj. Gen. Matt Quinn on this legislative effort.

"I look forward to the State of Montana improving licensure reciprocity within the upcoming year," he said. "The result being that spouses can spend less time and less money on their chosen profession in the State of Montana."

Passage of this bill would be a huge step in the direction of effective progress for dependents stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Bonetti concluded.