Military Spouses Bill Passes State House

Photo and Story by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The state House has passed a bill making it easier for military spouses to find work in Alaska.

House Bill 28 allows qualified wives or husbands of service-members to get temporary professional licenses from the state. The measure is aimed at professionals already licensed in another state or territory.

Prime sponsor Bill Thomas, a Haines Republican, told representatives Wednesday that the measure would help military families afford Alaska’s high cost of living.

“They’re very mobile and this is one way we can encourage the military to remain in the military and protect us and our families,” he said.

Temporary licenses would still require the usual background checks and fees. After six months, spouses could apply for an extension or obtain a normal license.

Thomas, a Vietnam veteran, cosponsored the bill with Democratic Representative Bob Herron, of Bethel, and Republican Representative Eric Feige, of Chickaloon. Both are also veterans.

The measure passed the House on a unanimous vote Wednesday. It now goes to the Senate.

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