State Representatives Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) and Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and Senator Bob Hackett (R-London) held a press conference today to highlight legislation that supports military members, veterans, and their families 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.”
Reps. Butler and Perales also announced the introduction of new legislation they are joint sponsoring that addresses a top concern of military families when relocating to Ohio. House Bill 716 would require state occupational licensing agencies to issue temporary licenses to military members and spouses who are licensed in another state and have moved to Ohio for active duty.
“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 Perales. “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.”
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.
"If an individual, serving in our military, received an occupational license prior to being transferred, we should allow for temporary licenses to be granted—making their transition to our state easier," said Hackett, who was at the press conference to represent the Senate. "It is the least we can do for those who are already sacrificing so much us."
Senators Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) are introducing companion legislation in the Senate.
"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."
“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.”
This issue is also one of the top priorities of the Department of Defense and could likely impact Ohio's competitiveness in attracting new missions for military bases in Ohio.
“I appreciate Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson bringing this issue to my attention and I was glad to work with her and our state representatives to find a solution to this problem affecting our service members’ families,” said Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10). “This legislation will greatly improve the quality of life for our military families by allowing spouses the ability to continue in their chosen careers.”
House Bill 716 and the Senate companion bill were introduced this week and now await committee designations.