Thursday the state Senate voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 5970, a measure to allow military men and women to qualify for civilian licenses if they meet certain requirements. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, says he proposed the idea because too many soldiers with outstanding skills and abilities must start at square one after reentering the civilian workforce.
“The training our service personnel receive in the military is top-notch, and most of these individuals would be considered experts in their fields,” said O’Ban, whose 28th District includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray. “The state needs to have the ability to take that training into consideration when these individuals apply for licenses that will give them good civilian jobs once they leave the service.”
SB 5970 would require that military training and experience must satisfy licensing requirements for all business or professional licenses if:
- The applicant provides sufficient documentation of training, work experience or qualification to perform a job or specialized duty; and
- The training, work experience or qualification is substantially equivalent to that needed for Washington licensure.
In addition, the law created by SB 5970 would require license applicants be notified by the licensing authority and provided an opportunity to submit additional documentation or information if the applicant’s submitted documentation does not meet state requirements.
“It’s our responsibility to do everything possible for our brave men and women in uniform to help ease their transition from a military lifestyle to civilian life,” O’Ban continued. “The greater the strides we make now, the better off our economy, our workforce and our society will be.”
SB 5970 – approved Jan. 22 by the Senate Committee on Commerce & Labor – will now be considered by the House of Representatives.