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Parson signs off on military spouses licensing reciprocity bills

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson signed into law a pair of bills that will change licensing requirements for military spouses

HBs 1511 and 1452 allow relocating military spouses to apply for an occupational license in Missouri so long as they hold valid equivalent certification from another state. They were sponsored by state Reps. Steve Lynch and Nick Schroer during their process in the House, and carried by Sens. Justin Brown and Bob Onder in the Senate. 

“Military spouses face considerable challenges when they relocate with their active duty partner, and finding a job in their licensed profession should not be one of them,” Parson said in a statement. “This legislation will now ease that burden and improve the quality of life for military families living and working in Missouri.”

The pair of bills will allow spouses to apply for licensing so long as the state they are coming from has similar or more stringent requirements. 

The move comes as the state continues to deal with the economic fallout from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Several Republicans have pushed for more licensing reform efforts as a way to mitigate the negative impacts. 

The Women’s Foundation has said licensing requirements have a disproportionate impact on women. It has also launched an interactive website showing the impacts the global pandemic has on Missouri women.

“Moving across state lines shouldn’t mean losing your ability to earn a living, but that’s the reality many families face as a result of a patchwork of burdensome and unnecessary licensing requirements,” Wendy Doyle, the Women’s Foundation president & CEO, said in a statement. “Our research shows that when professional licensing requirements can’t be transferred from state-to-state, women and military families bear the brunt.”

Thus far, nearly 6,000 Missourians have tested positive for COVID-19, and 189 people have died.

This story has been updated with information from the Women’s Foundation.  

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.