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ADA supports legislation to help military families

New bill would ‘lessen’ the stress of relocating for spouses with professional licenses

November 12, 2020

By Jennifer Garvin

The ADA is “strongly supporting” new bipartisan legislation to help military families.

In a Nov. 10 letter to Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, the ADA thanked the lawmaker for introducing S 4608, the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act of 2020. If enacted, this bill would give military spouses with valid professional licenses in one state reciprocity in the state where their spouse is currently serving on military orders.

“Family member transition support and job security is a military readiness concern,” wrote ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, D.M.D. “Eliminating this cumbersome hurdle for spouses lessens the stress of relocating which will better prepare our service members to protect the nation. Furthermore, simplifying the spouse’s process for securing professional employment presents the opportunity for better economic stability for our military families.”

In the letter, the ADA noted a 2020 Department of Defense study that indicated military spouses face a 24% unemployment rate, which is largely due to the mobile military life. The Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act will help reduce employment barriers, ensure family stability and improve quality of life.

“It is not uncommon for civilian dentists to be spouses of service members,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin wrote. “The ADA routinely supports these spouses through the onerous licensure process upon transfer of duty stations. By simply having a license in good standing according to the requirements in the jurisdiction that issued the license; and by complying with the new state’s standards of practice, discipline and fulfillment of any continuing education requirements, a military spouse could receive professional license reciprocity and easily resume the practice of dentistry. As such, the bill would enhance the dental workforce in military communities which are often health professional shortage areas.”

In addition to military spouses, the bill would also provide portability of professional licensure or certification to the relocating service member.

“Streamlining the licensure process for both service members and their spouses will provide a stable platform for military families transitioning out of the military and settling down in the location in which they received military orders,” Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin concluded. “The ADA strongly supports the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act of 2020. We are stalwart supporters of the brave men and women of our nation’s Armed Services, as well as their unwavering families. Thank you for sponsoring this bill and for your leadership on this issue.”

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.