Kansas governor signs bill exempting servicemembers, spouses from occupational licensing fees

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly, the daughter of a career U.S. Army officer, signed a bill designed to expand employment opportunities for active duty military service members and their spouses by exempting them from the state’s occupational licensing, registration and certification fees. Read the article here. Application of the reciprocal licensing provisions in House Bill 2745 would be limited to individuals residing in Kansas or planning to live in the state due to military assignments. The law would waive fees for applications, licenses, registrations, certifications or permits sought from a Kansas credentialing agency, including fees for a criminal background report and renewal of a credential. “I know the importance of supporting our military personnel and their spouses,” Kelly said on Friday. “I’m proud to sign this bipartisan bill that knocks down barriers and ensures military spouses have every opportunity to fill the jobs we’ve created in Kansas.” In February, Kelly said Kansas was the first state to join the Alliance for States Providing Interoperable Reciprocity to advocate for acceleration of reciprocity among states for benefit of military families. ... Master Sgt. Eugene Bradley, the Kansas National Guard’s noncommissioned officer in charge of legislative affairs, said the change in transfer and accessibility of occupational licenses was the right decision for servicemembers and their families, but the reform had broader implications. He said the U.S. Department of Defense made a state’s regulatory framework a factor when grading installations for new missions. He said the 190th Air Refueling Wing at Forbes Field in Topeka was competing with other installations to replace its decades-old fleet of KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft with the new KC-46 Pegasus. “Approximately 10 states are competing for this aircraft,” he said. “Kansas will be graded during this process on spouse licensing and employment opportunities, among other criteria. HB 2745 would help this effort. It is also important in the case of any future base realignment and closure efforts when it comes to retaining current missions and force structure.”