WASHINGTON (Jan. 7, 2019) – The R Street Institute applauds the enactment of the Portable Certification of Spouses (PCS) Act, signed into law in December by the president.

Introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) in the Senate, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) in the House, the PCS Act provides much-needed reform to occupational licensing for military families.

Between 35 and 50 percent of military spouses work in fields that require some form of licensure. When these couples move across state lines, they are confronted with a patchwork of regulations that make it difficult to retain their certification and continue working in their chosen field. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of military service members have reported that their spouse’s career prospects influence their reenlistment decisions.

With the enactment of the PCS Act, the Defense Department will have increased resources to set up interstate compacts for specific industries.

“This is a really exciting move that has the potential to help those serving our country,” says R Street Senior Manager of Digital Media and Fellow Shoshana Weissmann. “A lot of states are looking into reforming occupational licensing and allowing licenses to transfer across state lines. These funds will be invaluable for states looking in this direction.”

Although enactment of the PCS Act is a major victory for military families, there are a handful of other national reforms that could help, and more remains to be done at the state level to alleviate the burden of restrictive licensing regimes. For example, more states should follow the lead of Utah, which permits blanket licensure reciprocity for military spouses as long as they meet basic established criteria, or Arizona, which permits anyone practicing one of many professions to transfer their licenses into the state.

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