With First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama looking on, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Military Family Licensing Act to help qualified service members and their spouses obtain professional licenses so they can continue working in Illinois while they are here for military service.
Senate Bill 275, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, permits temporary expedited professional and educational licenses for active duty members of the military and their spouses.
“SB275 will reduce the time needed for service members and their spouses to obtain a professional license so they can continue to work and supplement the family income, while still assuring the skills of the licensee and public safety,” Rep. Pritchard said. “I look forward to continuing to address key quality of life issues for our service members and their families in Illinois.”
State agencies that issue occupational licenses, including the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the State Board of Education, will be able to grant temporary licenses to military members and spouses who hold credentials in other states in more than 50 professions, such as teachers, doctors, nurses, dentists, plumbers, paramedics, social workers, dieticians and therapists.
Illinois becomes the 23rd state to adopt pro-military spouse license portability legislation. In February, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, asked the country’s governors to improve job portability for military spouses in their states. An additional 7 states have pending legislation.
“Because of Governor Quinn’s efforts, more military spouses will be able to advance in their careers,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “More businesses, hospitals and schools will get the talented, experienced workers they rely on. And more families will have the income they need and the financial security they deserve.”
In addition to temporary, 6-month licenses, the Act allows IDFPR to consider all relevant experience and training a service member has gained through military service towards meeting certain permanent state licensing requirements. These provisions will help military members and their spouses more easily navigate the patchwork of non-uniform regulations across all 50 states. The law takes effect Jan. 1.
Illinois is home to three major military bases – Naval Station Great Lakes, the Navy’s “boot camp” for new recruits; Scott Air Force Base, headquarters for the U.S. Transportation Command; and Rock Island Arsenal, a major weapons manufacturing facility in the U.S.