TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Nellie Pou that would give additional time to an individual holding an out-of-state professional or occupational license to produce proper documentation to a state official if the individual is coming from a state that has experienced a natural disaster or catastrophic event passed the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Monday.
“The people of Puerto Rico were devastated by Hurricane Maria,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The restoration of services is still continuing on the island and many residents have left Puerto Rico to come to the mainland. We need to amend our state law to allow them to rebuild their careers in our state. We are richer because of their presence and we should be proud that they see New Jersey as a welcoming place. But it is important to also note that this bill will provide relief to people affected beyond Puerto Rico, including residents of Texas and Florida.”
The bill, S-522Sca, would revise current law to allow these individuals to produce documentation, but if they met all other provisions of current law they would be able to practice in New Jersey immediately. Additionally, the bill would allow individuals impacted by a storm after August 1, 2017 – which would include Hurricanes Harvey and Maria – one year from the date of the bill’s enactment to provide the required documentation.
If enacted, the bill would also clarify the term “state” to include state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or any other territory or possession of the United States.
“We need to make sure we include Puerto Rico and allow for them to become eligible for licensing reciprocity,” said Senator Pou.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 13-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.