A bill that would make it easier for honorably discharged veterans and their spouses to obtain occupational licenses was heard today by a Kansas legislative committee.
House Bill 2077 would direct the state’s licensing agencies to view the “education, training or service completed in military service” as equal to those completed in non-military settings.
“We are not asking for direct licensure, if it’s not equivalent,” said Martin Dempsey, a regional liaison with the U.S. Department of Defense, who testified in favor of the measure. “We are only seeking credit where credit is due.”
The proposal is being considered by the House Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.
Supporters said the changes could streamline in-state licensing and certification procedures for veterans and their spouses, making it easier for them find employment in Kansas.
Occupations that would be affected include electricians, plumbers, barbers, beauticians, realtors, architects, teachers, social workers, psychologists, EMTs, nurses, physical therapists, radiologists, and physicians.
Dempsey said that almost 1,300 enlisted personnel are expected to “separate” from the military in Kansas in 2013.
Should the legislation pass, he said, it should make it easier for those and other veterans to remain in Kansas.
“We see this as win-win,” Dempsey said.
Mitch Seal, a commander at the Medical Education and Training Campus at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., said spouses were included in the bill because licensing procedures often make it difficult for them to move from one deployment to another and resume their careers.
Kansas State Board of Healing Arts Executive Director Kathleen Selzler Lippert said the bill wasn’t expected have much effect on procedures for licensing physicians because the military already requires it’s doctors to have a state medical license.
KHI News Service file photo
Rep. Mario Goico, a Wichita Republican and chair of the committee, said he planned for the committee to work the bill on Feb. 7.
“I do not sense that there is any opposition from the members of the committee,” he said.
The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Tom Sloan, a Lawrence Republican who serves on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Task Force on Military and Veterans' Affairs.
"The (U.S.) Department of Defense has made it clear that helping veterans seek employment in civilian life is high priority," Sloan said. "This bill would do that."
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