Legislative Update

Bob Bienvenue, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)

FCoC Legislative Liaison

Background that Explains the Need for Legislation to Join Professional Licensure Compacts

and for Enhanced License Transferability for Military Spouses

Marion County State & Federal Legislators

                                                                        

Defense-State Liaison Office (DSLO) research has found an empirical link between spousal support for a Service member to stay on active duty and actual retention outcomes. When all predictors related to education and employment were considered, a spouse being currently employed was significantly related to an increase in odds of spousal support to stay in the military when compared to being unemployed.

 Many military spouses with a professional license/certification must relicense in order to find employment in their profession each time they move to a new state with their active-duty spouse. About 10,000 spouses relocate to Florida each year. Fully 1/3 of those seeking employment after a Permanent Change of Station with their servicemember reported that it took 7 months or more to find employment after that move. The hassle and expense of getting their occupational license in a new state delays their ability to get a job which adversely affects their family’s finances.

Some states have enacted legislation to participate in Interstate Compacts that address transferability of professional licenses. These Occupational Licensure Compacts provide rules for licensed professionals to work in other states.  And military provisions added to most compacts assist military spouses to establish a home state where they hold a license and the privilege to practice in all other compact-member states.

Compacts are not new to Florida since the state is a member of the Nursing Compact that provides consistent rules for licensed professionals from other member states to work here without any bureaucratic barriers. 

Bills have been introduced in this session of the Florida legislature that would direct the appropriate Florida government offices to join in two existing Interstate Compacts: Psychology and Professional Counseling

Joining a compact as a member state would go further than the existing practices in Florida for enhanced transferability of licenses for military spouses, making an existing license from a compact state immediately valid in another state that is a signatory to the compact for that particular profession.

 

In addition, there are complimentary House and Senate bills to make transferability easier, specifically for military spouses with licenses issued by other states for professions not covered by a Compact.

Suggested “Introduction” to use in your calls:

The Military Officers Association of America through its affiliate Chapters in Florida and our individual members are the voice for the 30,000 active-duty military families in Florida. We are asking you to support passage of several bills which would relieve the barriers on military spouses who hold a professional license and are seeking employment in Florida.

The following Fact Sheets provide status on the respective Bills, their progress through committees and information to add to the above “Introduction” above when contacting our Florida State Legislators in seeking their support of these measures. There are also notes on the content of the calls. 

Action Plans

HB 0559 Occupational Licensure of Military Spouses by: Christine Hunschofsky, D: 96

DOH provides expedited health care professional licensing to applicants who are a spouse or surviving spouse of a U.S. Armed Forces active duty member through the Florida Veterans Application for Licensure Online Response System (VALOR). Veterans and spouses who apply through the VALOR process receive a waiver of most licensing fees.

This bill makes several revisions to temporary licensure requirements for the spouse of an active duty member.

The bill:

· Requires DOH to issue a full professional license, rather than a temporary license, to applicants who satisfy submission requirements;

· Requires the board, or DOH if there is no board, to expedite all applications submitted by an active duty member’s spouse under specified conditions;

· Allows military spouse licensees to renew the license, which is prohibited under current law; and

· Requires DOH to waive the $65 application fee.

 

Favorable with CS by Regulatory Reform Subcommittee

Favorable with CS by Professional & Public health Subcommittee

Now in Health & Human Services Committee as of 1/28/2002

 

Use these links to identify the representatives on those committees who are considering this Bill:

Regulatory Reform Subcommittee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)

Professions & Public Health Subcommittee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)

Health & Human Services Committee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov) TBD

 

SB 562  companion to HB 0559 same title as above.  by Janet Cruz, D-18

Favorably considered by Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security

Favorable considered  by Regulated Industries

On Appropriations Committee agenda, 02/09/22

 

Use these links to identify the senators on those committees who are considering this bill:

Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)

Regulated Industries Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)

Appropriations Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)    SB 562 is on their meeting agenda for  Feb 9th.


ACTION

Please contact your Senator and Representative today at both Offices to let them know that MOAA members and their constituents see this as an important Bill to benefit military Families (spouses) who reside in Florida because of the assignment here of their servicemember spouse.

Ask those who have already voted in support of this Bill in Committee meetings to vote again in support of this Bill and to urge their colleagues to advance it‘s passage when it comes up for a floor vote.

CS/SB 358 Professional Counselors Licensure (Interstate Compact)  

by  Ana Maria Rodriguez,  (R; District 39)

This legislation would advance the current practice in Florida to match other states efforts with: 

·         Common understanding of standards 

·         States sharing authority and responsibility over occupational-based practices

·         “Privilege to practice” policies allowing employment in other compact states

·         Allowing endorsements for a license transfer, primarily based upon changing legal residence

Favorably considered by Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services

Favorably considered by Health Policy Committee

On the Appropriations Committee agenda for Feb 9th

Use these links to identify the senators on those committees who are considering this bill:

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)

Health Policy Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)

Appropriations Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)    SB 562 is on their meeting agenda for  Feb 9th

HB 1521 companion to SB 358 by Traci Koster, (R; District-64)

Favorably considered by Professions & Public Health Subcommittee

On the Government Operations Subcommittee agenda for Feb 8th

Next on Health and Human Services Subcommittee

Use these links to identify the representatives on those committees who are considering this Bill:

Professions & Public Health Subcommittee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)

Government Operations Subcommittee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)  on the agenda for 2/9

Health & Human Services Committee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)  TBD


ACTION

Ask those who have already voted in support of this Bill in Committee meetings to vote again in support of this Bill and to urge their colleagues to advance its passage when it comes up for a floor vote. Their support is needed to eliminate barriers to employment military spouses experience when they move to Florida upon assignment here for their servicemember.

Please contact your Senator and Representative at both Offices to let them know that MOAA members and their constituents see this as an important Bill to benefit military Families (spouses) who reside in Florida because of the assignment here of their servicemember spouse

SB 1370: Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact by Senator Gayle Harrell, R-25

This compact is intended to authorize state psychology regulatory authorities to afford legal recognition … to psychologists licensed in another state.

Compact states shall recognize the right of a psychologist licensed in a compact state to practice

telepsychology in other compact states” [based on their existing license]

“Compact states shall recognize the right of a psychologist licensed in a compact state to practice

temporarily in other compact states” [in the areas of their professional licensure]

This Bill has been referred to the Health Policy, Appropriations and Rules committees.

There have been no scheduled meetings on this Bill as of yet.

Use these links to identify the senators on those committees who are considering this bill:

Health Policy Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)

Appropriations Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)

Rules Committee Page - The Florida Senate (flsenate.gov)


ACTION

Ask them in advance of their committee meetings to vote favorably on it and  to urge their colleagues in the full senate to advance it’s passage when it comes up for a floor vote.

HB953; companion Bill to SB1370 by Representatives Christine Hunschofsky (D-96) and Traci Koster (R-64)

Favorably considered by the Professions and Public Health Subcommittee January 25th.

Favorably considered by the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee February 7th .

Meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee not yet scheduled.

Use these links to identify the representatives on those committees who are considering this Bill:

Professions & Public Health Subcommittee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)

Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)

Health & Human Services Committee | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)


ACTION

There are six members of the Health and Human Services Committee (out of 21) who have already voted in favor of this Bill in the two previous subcommittee meetings. Please contact them to ask they continue to show their support when consideration of the bill is on the committee schedule.

Based on the unanimous favorable votes in the two committees that have already considered these bills, there is some measure of positive expectations that they will be passed this session.


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