Last year, the Alabama Legislature passed a package of bills under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth drafted by the Alabama Military Stability Commission to improve the quality of life of the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed within Alabama.

Among measures included in that package of bills was a guarantee of the acceptance of out-of-state occupational licenses for military dependents in various professions.

Earlier this week, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity for the U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs convened a hearing on location in Oceanside, Calif. regarding veteran hunger and the impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity.

The subcommittee hearing was chaired by U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) but also included U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) as the ranking member.

Moore offered an anecdote that raised his awareness of the problem by telling about an active duty U.S. Marine forced to deliver pizzas to make ends meet.

However, he suggested California and other states adopt the license reciprocity guarantee offered in Alabama to help ease high military spousal unemployment levels.

"You say the spouses' unemployment levels – why is that?" Moore said. "In Alabama, we passed a law, license reciprocity. So, if you were stationed at Fort Benning and your wife was a hairdresser, and she transitioned to Alabama, and she didn't have a license to cut hair in Alabama, she couldn't make a living. Uncle Sam doesn't poll you when they want to move you. They say you're going to Fort Rucker from Fort Benning, right?

"And so, I wonder sometimes – do y'all have that sort of law in California .. where you can get a license reciprocity for spouses? [You] [d]on't have that. So, that would be helpful because it was such a good bill for us. And what happened, other than medical professionals, these spouses that taught schools, certificates, whatever it was – we could actually allow that wife, spouse, husband, whatever to come into Alabama and go straight to work."

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