1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley leaders, military spouses and supporters joined Gov. Laura Kelly April 21 for the signing of Kansas House Bill 2066. The legislation provides expedited license reciprocity, the recognition of professional occupational licenses gained in one state by another, to all Kansans. The enactment into law of House Bill 2066, known as the Occupational License Reciprocity Bill, is particularly beneficial to military spouses and service members.
Spouse employment is one of five Army quality of life priorities, as described at https://www.army.mil/qualityoflife. Kansas’ new statute, effective July 1, 2021, reduces the time for issuance of temporary licensing for military spouses and service members to 15 days from 60. For all other Kansans, licenses are to be issued within 45 days.This process, which begins with application to appropriate licensing entity, enables prompt employment of transitioning military family members.
The new law updates reciprocity based upon a “substantially equivalent” standard to a “scope of practice” standard. In their 2018 report on barriers to portability of occupational licenses between states, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Defense cited the prior standard as extending the delays experienced by military spouses.
Mitchell Foley, Fort Riley Transition Services manager, described the challenge faced by his spouse during his Army career. “By the time you would meet the requirements to get the license, we had already moved to another installation to start all over again,” Foley said when he testified in 2020 in support of this legislation, citing transitioning service members who leave Kansas for a location where they already hold a license for their post-service career.
“This bill is a win-win for our veterans and military families and our continued economic recovery following COVID-19,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “By providing occupational licensing reciprocity, this bipartisan legislation will benefit our state’s military community, help our employers who rely on licensing for hiring and spur economic growth statewide.”