Rep. Seeks to Expedite Professional Licenses for Military Spouses

Cindy Morley

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

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With Georgia ranking 5th in the nation for having the largest military population, State Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead) wants to make it easier for military spouses to obtain professional licenses when relocating to the state. Belton got a favorable recommendation for House Bill 884 Monday from the House Regulated Industries Occupational and Professional Licenses Subcommittee. The bill is now set to go before the full committee, and could be heard as early as today.

“Approximately 1 million Georgians are compensated by the military, and the Georgia Department of Defense is the largest single employer in the state,” said Belton. “I feel like this would be good for Georgia if we could provide this for military spouses.”

According to Belton, 28 states have already passed similar legislation.

HB 884 would allow for expedited professional licenses by endorsement for military spouses who hold a current license in another state where training, experience and testing are similar in qualifications and scope to the requirements in Georgia. Under this proposed legislation, the expedited license should be issued no later than 90 days from the receipt of an application. Belton had hoped to reduce this to a 30-day period, but several members of the committee expressed concern with the quick turnaround time. According to Belton’s testimony to the subcommittee, the Department of Defense had requested the 30-time timeframe.

State Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) asked if any of the 28 states that currently have this in place exclude healthcare. “Thirty days just won’t work for me. I see 90 days as the answer.” He added that it would be difficult for licensing boards to accomplish this task in 30 days.

According to Belton, military spouse professional licenses and education are two key critical factors in determining base locations across the country.

State Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) has a similar bill that would expedite certain licenses for spouses of firefighters, healthcare providers and law enforcement who relocate to Georgia.

The bill would apply to those spouses who hold a current license in another state as long as the training, experience and testing requirements are similar to those in Georgia – and the person must not be under disciplinary action in another state.