07/25/12 — Law allows military spouses to use other state licenses

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Law allows military spouses to use other state licenses

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 25, 2012 2:09 PM

In a move she characterized as another step toward creating a more military-friendly state, Gov. Beverly Perdue signed House Bill 799 into law Tuesday morning at the Wayne County Veterans Memorial.

She said lawmakers have been working on the legislation since the last BRAC.

"The one thing that we heard over and over (during the last round of base closures) that we tried to do in 2006 and didn't completely fix was this whole challenge of licensure," she said. "There is nothing worse for a new airman ... than to come into Seymour Johnson and (their wife or husband ) is not able to get a job."

So after the governor signed the document, she celebrated with some of the local military advocates, community leaders and residents who turned out to witness their state receiving, in Perdue's words, "another gold star."

And for the few people in the crowd who said they would be among those who would benefit from the fact that now, military-trained applicants and military-spouse applicants who held professional licenses in another state could receive occupational licenses here, it truly was a moment worth celebrating.

"Being able to contribute to your family -- to do your part while your husband does his -- is really important," said Jenny Walker, a military spouse who lives in Goldsboro. "This is going to make getting a job so much easier. And honestly, I go crazy when I'm not working."

Amber Fields said the law was a welcome change.

"When you're married to someone who's enlisted, every penny counts," she said. "So this is a big deal for our family. The better job I can get, the more money we'll have in the bank to support our family."

But spouses were not the only ones who weighed in on the gravity of the new law.

4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeannie Leaviit said the bill signing was a "historic example of the outstanding relationship between our armed forces and the state of North Carolina" -- that it would make a significant impact within the homes of her airmen.

"As our nation continues to field an all-volunteer force, it is critical to address the challenges that are inherent in military service. North Carolina House Bill 799 does just that," she said. "With this bill, the state of North Carolina continues the tradition of military support that makes this such a great state. Military members and their families are supported, enabling mission accomplishment."