Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed into law a pair of bills April 21 that will change licensing requirements for military spouses.
House Bills 1511 and 1452 allow military spouses to apply for occupational licenses in Missouri, as long as they hold a valid license issued by another state or U.S. territory.
“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. “This legislation will now ease that burden and improve the quality of life for military families living and working in Missouri.”
Any military spouse who meets the requirements will be issued a license by an oversight body within 30 days, according to the bill. The new law dictates that spouses are eligible to apply for licenses with any board, department, agency or office of a jurisdiction that issues licenses.
Under a similar, but separate 2019 rule that made it easier for military spouses to practice law in Missouri, Karen Towns became the first spouse attorney to be admitted to the Missouri Bar. She said the new legislation will help improve the lives of many military families.
“This new law will have a positive impact on the military community as a whole by removing significant obstacles that military spouses experience when seeking employment in a licensed profession,” she said.
The governor’s office said the goal was to alleviate stress for military families relocating to Missouri. Towns – who is married to Fort Leonard Wood Garrison Commander Col. Eric Towns – has relocated more than a half dozen times in the past 12 years.
“It can be incredibly challenging for military spouses to find employment, especially when state licensure is a prerequisite to finding employment in one’s professional field,” Towns said. “As you can imagine, the challenges a military spouse faces when trying to find employment every time the family relocates can cause an additional layer of stress to the family unit. The ability to obtain a reciprocal license in Missouri will greatly ease the burden for military spouses, which will also have a positive impact on the stress that military families experience.”
State Reps. Steve Lynch and Nick Schroer sponsored the bills in the House, and Sens. Justin Brown and Bob Onder carried them in the Senate.
To read the bills in their entirety, visit https://house.mo.gov/Bill.aspx?bill=HB%201511&style=new.