New Mexico aids military families with reciprocity bill; Air Force, Space Force leaders applaud effort

  • Published
  • By Jim Fisher
  • Kirtland Air Force Base Public Affairs

Lawmakers in the land of enchantment created and passed key legislation for military families Feb. 26 when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed bill HB 30 Expedited Licensure for Military Families and veterans, during a ceremony at the state Capitol.

The new law speeds the process of obtaining occupational licenses for military dependents arriving in New Mexico, and virtually eliminates the cost. Military leaders at the state’s four major military installations had sought to relieve the burden and red tape associated with transferring professional licenses from other states. Lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature unanimously passed the measure.

The governor explained the new law in a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper dated Feb. 17, 2020.

“HB 30 provides military spouses and dependent family members expedited licensure in more than 65 occupations. Educational licenses shall be issued in 30 days and those occupations with oversight by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department shall be issued not later than 60 days,” the governor wrote. She further explained that each state licensing authority will continue to set documentation and background check requirements. “Additionally, a license fee waiver for three years is extended to military spouses and dependent family members for all of the covered occupations.”

Lujan Grisham’s signing of the bill prompted accolades from Air Force and Space Force leaders.

“Expediting and waiving fees for licensures of spouses, dependents and veterans in New Mexico demonstrates the state’s commitment to service members,” said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett. “The Department of the Air Force applauds New Mexico for meeting the unique needs of military families.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein called the bill a victory for military families in New Mexico.

“This is a big win for our military spouses in New Mexico. Removing barriers for those seeking meaningful employment is key to retention,” Goldfein said. “We owe it to our families to provide them great places to live and work, and New Mexico has made significant progress by signing this bill.”

With several Kirtland AFB mission partners directly supporting the U.S. Space Force, USSF Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond sited supporting military families as a key component to readiness.

“Mollie and I applaud New Mexico for helping military spouses become quickly licensed within their professions,” Raymond said. “Military families are a critical part of our readiness and we thank New Mexico for helping us support our families at the same level of support that they provide us.”

The effort to establish reciprocity has been ongoing, with legislators working with military commanders and key installation supporters for more than six years. Kirtland AFB’s 377th Air Base Wing commander, Col. Dave Miller, praised the work of Kirtland Partnership Committee founder Sherman McCorkle, and KPC board member Paul Cassidy, for drawing attention to the needs of military families. He also thanked bill sponsors state Rep. Eliseo Lee Alcon (D-Milan) and state Sen. Candace Gould (R-Albuquerque).

“I would like to thank everyone who made this possible, and express our gratitude on behalf of Team Kirtland (AFB),” Miller said. “Taking action to improve opportunities for us to work in our communities goes a long way towards creating installations of choice for our military families.”

The new reciprocity laws will take effect July 1, 2020.