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Whitmer, Michigan legislators announce bipartisan legislation to help servicemembers, veterans, dependents

The bipartisan legislation supports military personnel, veterans, and their families by reducing barriers to professional licensure in Michigan.
Michigan veterans and map graphic.
Michigan veterans and map graphic.(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 2:15 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, LARA Director Orlene Hawks, Adjutant General and DMVA Director Major General Paul Rogers, and MVAA Director Zaneta Adams Tuesday announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation that supports military personnel, veterans, and their families by reducing barriers to professional licensure. Rep. Andrea Schroeder (R-Independence Twp.), Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek), and Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) are the primary sponsors of the legislation.

“Our dedicated military servicemembers put their lives on the line for our families, and we have a duty to ensure their support when they return home,” said Governor Whitmer. “That means making sure they have paths to good jobs so they can sustain their families. Today’s legislation will help us do just that. Clearing the path for our military servicemembers, veterans, and their dependents to enter a licensed profession will help us attract and retain talent in Michigan, and by making it easier for our military servicemembers to be licensed, we can make Michigan their home to live and work, permanently.”

Gov. Whitmer, alongside state leaders and legislators, announces the introduction of bipartisan legislation ahead of Veterans Day tomorrow.

Posted by TV6 & FOX UP on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday by members of the House and Senate will make current military personnel, veterans, and their dependents eligible for license reciprocity in Michigan. Servicemembers will be eligible if they hold a valid occupational license in another state, are in good standing with no pending disciplinary action, and demonstrate competency in their profession through education, training and/or work experience. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will determine whether these criteria are satisfied.

“This is a meaningful step we can take to honor the many sacrifices of our military families,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “To help attract these families to locate or stay in Michigan, LARA is committed to expediting licensure by processing completed applications within 48 hours.”

“As a veteran, the spouse of a veteran and now the Director of the MVAA, I have experienced many of the barriers that our veterans and their families face when transitioning to a new location or to civilian life,” said Director Zaneta Adams. “This initiative will make a difference and go a long way to encourage those who are seeking a professional license by making it a seamless process.”

“This program will remove significant barriers of employment and economic hurdles for our military members and their families and is an added benefit to serving in Michigan. As the state continues to invest in programs like this, we collectively show that Michigan as a great place for military and veterans to live, work, raise a family and retire,” said adjutant general and director of Michigan’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Major General Paul Rogers.

Currently, veterans are eligible for initial license, registration, or application fee waivers for professional occupations regulated under the Occupational Code and the Skilled Trades Regulation Act. This legislation will expand present fee waivers under those Acts to include dependents of veterans and those on Active Duty. Fee waivers will also be extended to health professions licensed under the Public Health Code. A dependent is defined as a spouse or child under the age of 26.

“This legislative package is a perfect example of how state government can make people’s lives easier, not harder,” said Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). “We know that military life poses unique challenges, yet many of our state’s licensing regulations and fees reflect a one size fits all approach. There’s no reason why our laws can’t be tailored to reflect the unique needs of military service members, veterans and their families. By streamlining the licensing process and expanding fee waivers for these individuals, we can ensure all qualified employees are connected with the jobs they need.”

“This is an important change that would allow health care professionals, skilled trades experts and many others to find jobs in Michigan more quickly – cutting through red tape that causes needless delays,” said Rep. Andrea Schroeder of Oakland County’s Independence Township. “These reforms will support our military families, who have sacrificed so much to protect us, and the communities in which they live.”

“I am in the Army Reserves. When I’m on duty, only I travel to serve. My family stays home when I’m in uniform. For my active duty counterparts, their entire family moves across the country, to allow our service members to do their job protecting us. My buddy, Captain Kukowski, and his wife have moved four times (WI-FL-GA-TX-NC). She’s had to pass four exams and paid for licenses in four states to do the same job as a pharmacist for the same company. On their last move she opted not to jump through all the hoops and focus solely and raising their child, which is a decision few men ever have to make. Passing these bills will show their family we value their service and sacrifice and finally stop punishing the families who already give us so much,” said Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit).

“With these bills, we are helping our veteran and military families by removing the government red tape preventing them from continuing their careers here in Michigan,” said Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek). “Military spouses in professions that require licensure can be left jobless with a sudden move to a new state. These bills would help ease their transition and financial burdens by allowing military family members to pick up their careers in Michigan without unnecessary delay.”

Examples of licensing resources include:

  • Utilizing military experience towards licensing
  • Providing an exemption for renewal fees while on active duty
  • Providing an exemption for continuing education requirements while on active duty
  • Granting temporary licenses for active duty military personnel’s spouses
  • Granting a waiver for the initial license or initial registration fee for veterans
  • Granting a waiver for the initial application processing fee for veterans
  • Providing a reimbursement from Federal Department of Veterans Affairs for required and paid for examination fees.

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