On April 30, the Senate Committee on Business and General Government unanimously passed a bill to allow professional licensing boards to issue temporary authorization to a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces stationed in Oregon that is already licensed and is in good standing with an out-of-state licensing board.

Association of Oregon Counties has been engaged on professional certification reciprocity for military spouses and supports the bill (House Bill 3030A).

In Tuesday’s hearing, Representative E. Werner Reschke called out the challenges for service members and family relating to frequent moves for duty, “for those that are married, this can be burdensome. While the military member serves in the new role of their vocation, the military member’s spouse must often set out to find a new job in their profession, in a new environment with little assistance. What makes matters worse is when the military member’s spouse cannot find gainful employment because of new certification requirements by a state government. This barrier, state certification, affects professionals across industries from teachers, nurses, physical therapists and so on.”

Colonel Jeff Smith, Commander of the 173d Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls testified in favor of the bill. Colonel Smith noted the importance of HB 3030A to keep Kingsley Field competitive for selection as the long term F-35 training site for the U.S. Air Force. Currently, Kingsley Field is the sole training provider of F-15C Eagle pilots for the U.S. Air Force.

Representative Mike McLane also testified on the bill and noted that in working with the Department of Justice a constitutionally sound solution for the issue had been identified in HB 3030A, “Oregon cannot constitutionally delegate certification, but what we can do is have our agencies and respective boards look at certification processes in other states, and determine if they’re comparable, make sure the person is in good standing, and have some sort of short vetting process to make sure compliance has been met. Then give them a two year window to come into the state and maintain their professional efforts, and if they stay longer in Oregon, get certified in Oregon.”

HB 3030A will be up for a vote on the Senate floor next week before heading to the Governor’s desk. The bill is expected to pass the Senate with ease.

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate