TRENTON – The Senate today approved a bill sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew to help returning military veterans expedite work-related licenses so they can resume employment without getting bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.
“When our citizen soldiers return from defending our freedom, we should make sure they don’t lose time from work because of expired licenses,” said Senator Van Drew, D-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland. “Their lives have been disrupted enough by their active service.”
The Senate voted 39-0 to approve the measure, S-1279/A-789 and send it to the Assembly for concurrence on a needed amendment.
The measure would extend the expiration date of any license issued by a professional or occupational board for up to 120 days after a licensee returns from active military service. Because the State’s estimated 600,000 licensees are recorded in a computerized system, the bill was amended to require returning military license holders to inform the boards either before or after their service is completed that they were called to active duty.
“The goal is to ease the concerns about needed work licenses for returning veterans,” said Senator Van Drew. “With a four-month window, a returning veteran should have ample time to get re-acclimated to his work world.”
The licenses of active military members would be considered “in force” throughout the time the licensee is on active duty. The Senate Commerce Committee amended the bill to add the requirement for board notification by the returning veterans so the computerized licensing system could be alerted to a license holder’s absence due to military service.