Professional license applications submitted by military spouses may soon get fast-tracked in Florida under a measure filed ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session.
The proposal (HB 559 & SB 562) would provide military spouses who hold an out-of-state professional license with a temporary license, allowing them to resume work without delay. The state, meanwhile, would expedite the application.
Democratic Sen. Janet Cruz and Rep. Christine Hunschofsky are the bill sponsors.
“Military families get uprooted often, and in many of those cases, military spouses find themselves unable to work because of the wait time for their professional license registration in the new state,” Hunschofsky said. “By waiving the fee, expediting the process, and granting a temporary license to practice their vocation, we are making life and finances just a little easier for our military families, continuing Florida’s goal of being the most military-friendly state in the United States.”
If passed, the measure would likely have a profound impact on the state’s military community. Florida is home to more than 65,000 active duty service-members, according to the Governor’s Office.
In a press release, Cruz noted the high levels of unemployment among military spouses.
“Due to the nature of work in the military, families are frequently ordered to relocate to military posts across the world,” Cruz said. “These frequent moves compound an already high unemployment rate for military spouses, who faced a 22% unemployment rate pre-COVID-19.”
The Democratic-led proposal comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis aims to make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation. The Republican Governor has signed a slew of bills in recent years bolstering career and education opportunities for service members and veterans.
Notably, Florida is home to more than 1.4 million veterans and ranks third in the nation for veteran residents. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, projects Florida will rank as the second-highest by 2040.
Lawmakers will consider the proposal in the upcoming Legislative Session, which begins Jan. 11.