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Defending Military Spouses and their Freedom to Work

September 20, 2019

September 20, 2019

While politicians of all stripes talk of the need to “create more jobs,” about one in four jobs in America requires an occupational license—a government permission slip to work. Military spouses are hit particularly hard by this rampant overregulation, but the good news is that states are stepping up to defend their freedom to work. 

A new article in Military Spouse magazine reports on how Arizona is leading the way in reforming licensing requirements by being the first in the nation to universally recognize out-of-state licenses.

“It really is the entire family that serves,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in an interview with Military Spouse. “And when you have a spouse that’s relocated across state lines when they are part of protecting and defending our country…and they’re not able to enter the workforce, everyone sees the injustice there.” 

“No one should have to contend with these unnecessary obstacles, especially military spouses,” Ducey continued. “We are taking someone as capable, confident, and educated as a military spouse and telling them, no you can’t work here. That just seems to me to be foolish policy. All we did in Arizona was present something that everyone can understand and is pure common sense. People know that you don’t lose your skills just because you cross a state line.”

The Goldwater Institute has championed universal recognition and other laws that ease the burden of occupational licensing, and it’s leading a national effort to bring Arizona’s reforms to other states. Randy Kendrick, a member of the Institute’s Board of Directors, explained to Military Spouse why universal recognition of occupational licenses is so critical.

“When military spouses move from state to state, many have to retake training and pay fees just to continue in their jobs as doctors, hairdressers, radiologists or teachers,” said Randy Kendrick, a 25-year former military dependent and spouse. “They spend precious time and precious money before they are allowed to do something that is the most basic human right: the right to work.”

“What Arizona has just done is revolutionary among all the states. Arizona has decreed it will accept all work licenses (in good standing) from every other state,” said Kendrick. “This will benefit everyone in the country—but the group who will benefit the most are military spouses and veterans.”

You can read more about the Goldwater Institute’s efforts to break down barriers to work here. The Goldwater Institute is also working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, which helps promote military spouse employment. You can read about Hiring Our Heroes here.



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