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Licensing reciprocity for military dependents back in legislature

The Alabama Legislature has expanded occupational licensing reciprocity for military spouses and dependents every year since 2018.

Rep. Kenneth Paschal, R-Pelham, says he is continuing to make Alabama a military friendly state by sponsoring legislation that will allow military personnel and military dependents licensed as cosmetologists in other states to continue practicing their trade while stationed in Alabama.

“Passage of this legislation will ensure that our fighting men and women and dependents who worked as hair stylists and cosmetologists elsewhere can continue to access employment opportunities while stationed in Alabama,” Paschal said.  “As a U.S. Army career veteran, I understand the hardships and sacrifices that military dependents face, and they deserve to have their transition to a new posting made as easy and simple as possible.”

The 2018 passage of the Military Family Jobs Opportunity Act introduced licensing reciprocity to the state by enabling military spouses with professional licenses from other states to transfer their qualifications to an Alabama license. The act required some occupational licensure boards to provide temporary or permanent licenses to military spouses transferring to the state of Alabama without any initial licensing fees.

The Legislature has since extended licensing reciprocity and joined the Physical Therapy Compact, the Psychology Compact, the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Compact, the Counseling Compact and the Occupational Therapy Compact — further increasing career portability in these fields for military spouses moving to the state.

“Alabama was among the first states in the nation to pass legislation ensuring occupational licensing reciprocity for military dependents, and we have expanded that effort to cover various boards, commissions, trades, and professions each year since,” Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who chairs the Alabama Military Stability Commission, said.  “By continuing this initiative, Rep. Paschal is helping Alabama remain the country’s friendliest state for active-duty service members, military dependents, and veterans.”

House Bill 246 is part of an effort to create a national “cosmetology compact” for military personnel and dependents. Legislatures in Georgia, Texas, Nebraska, Arizona and California are currently considering the compact, which will soon be introduced in Delaware and Ohio.

An identical measure has already been enacted in Kentucky — if passed, Alabama could be the second state to join the compact.

Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering Executive Director Jeannie Price joined representatives from ten other state cosmetology boards and three industry representatives in creating the model legislation.

Alabama National Guard Adjutant General Sheryl Gordon says this legislation plays an important role in helping military families settle into new assignments.

“This bill makes it even easier for service members and their families to assimilate and do business in Alabama,” Gordon said in a written statement.  “The Alabama National Guard is always looking for pro-military legislation that will help our military families, and we hope the Alabama Legislature quickly moves this bill forward.”

The legislation received a favorable report from Boards, Agencies, and Commissions Committee last week.

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