February 7, 2020 3:09PM

Maryland Advances Occupational License Recognition for Military Families

I’m honored to serve as a volunteer participant in the state of Maryland’s occupational licensure reform task force, which has been working on easing barriers for new and transitioning members of the workforce. Its work helped prepare the way for SB 280, a proposal heard yesterday before a Maryland Senate committee.

SB 280 would recognize and honor occupational licenses from other states held by service members, spouses, and veterans, so long as they are in good standing and held for at least a year. Because military families get moved from state to state, licensure can work great hardship on them: after investing hundreds or thousands of hours in training on top perhaps of classwork to secure a license in one state, they may find themselves back to square one following an interstate move. Fear of nonrecognition is enough to discourage many military spouses from going for a license in the first place, even in fields such as cosmetology for which relevant skill sets are very much the same from state to state. Maryland already affords recognition under some circumstances (see relevant map) but the bill would significantly expand the range of permission. The requirement that the license have been held for a year before the move helps address concern about any hazard to be feared in honoring licenses from states that require fewer or different training hours than does Maryland — in all likelihood the license holder during that year has racked up many hours actually doing the job.

It’s pleasing to see this bill move forward in Maryland with bipartisan legislative support, as well as the backing of Gov. Larry Hogan, and to see that it drew no opposition testimony.