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Senate Committee Approves Bills to Support Employment of Military Spouses


TRENTON – The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee today approved three bills that would boost employment opportunities for military spouses stationed in New Jersey by extending professional licenses and creating an employer tax credit program.

One bill, S-2521, sponsored by Senator Joe Cryan, would extend from one year to two years the length of temporary “courtesy” licenses for nonresident military spouses for a variety of licensed professions, including nurses, social workers, therapists, psychologists and speech pathologists, among other disciplines. The legislation would also allow for an additional one-year extension, at the discretion of the respective licensing board.

“Military spouses serve and sacrifice along with their wives and husbands,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “They move from base to base according to assignments that can be for relatively short timeframes. This makes it more difficult to secure employment, especially in licensed professions. This licensing extension treats military spouses with the respect and appreciation they deserve.”

Most military families relocate every two to three years, according to the Rand Corporation.

The second measure, S-2367, sponsored by Senator Nellie Pou, would extend temporary teaching licenses for nonresident military spouses from six months to one year. The bill would also eliminate the required fee and have the State Department of Education establish procedures to expedite the licensing process.

“We have educators who are licensed in other states stationed in New Jersey with their spouses at the same time we are experiencing a shortage of classroom teachers,” said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The smart thing to do is to extend their temporary instructional certificates and the fair thing to do is eliminate the required fees. This is good for our schools and good for military families.”

The third bill, S-1579, sponsored by Senator Andrew Zwicker and Senator Cryan, would provide tax credits to employers that hire military spouses who are not state residents. The Military Spouse Employment Tax Credit Program would allow for an annual employer tax credit of up to $2,400 per worker, based on the number of hours the employee works in a taxable year.

“The rate of unemployment and underemployment for military spouses is five times higher than the civilian population at a cost of almost $1 billion to the national economy,” said Senator Zwicker (D-Middlesex/Mercer/Somerset/Hunterdon). “Tax incentives for employers will help put their skills to work in jobs that serve the needs of businesses, boost the economy and provide gainful employment for members of military families stationed here in New Jersey.”

All three bills were approved by the committee with votes of 5-0.