This bill will enable military spouses to continue to participate in the Alaska economy, provide needed services to Alaskans, and more importantly provide harmony to those military families stationed in Alaska.
I would like to recommend several additions to the bill. Recommend that the current regulation which states “Spouses of active duty military personnel with Alaska orders may request that their temporary or courtesy licensing applications be expedited according to AS 08.01.063” be changed to include those spouses whose Active Duty members are assigned to “short tour” areas (Permanent Change of Station orders). Reasoning: When military members receive PCS orders to unaccompanied areas (e.g. Korea), their spouses and families usually remain in Alaska. This change in the regulation would enable the spouse to practice their profession while the Active Duty spouse is assigned to a short unaccompanied tour.
I would also like to recommend that the statute be changed to include healthcare professionals and teachers. As you know there is a serious shortage of special education teachers in many Alaska school districts. Allowing courtesy licenses for teachers would help alleviate this shortage and be a win-win for both school districts and military spouses. Teachers who are certified in other states are no less qualified than Alaska certified teachers. In the past, DOD teachers have taught Alaskan students at several Alaska bases/posts while not having Alaska licenses.
I also recommend that Active Duty military spouses who are registered nurses be provided courtesy licensing. My wife is a registered nurse and has had her licensure from Pennsylvania. She has practiced in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, and Alaska in the Air Force and VA. She has been an ER nurse, flight nurse, hospital in-patient nurse, Chief Nurse at Elmendorf AFB hospital (3rd Medical Group), Air Force medical group commander (45th Medical Group, Patrick AFB FL), and the Chief Nurse at the Alaska VA. All the while with a Pennsylvania license. I can assure her nursing care/practice did not suffer because she did not have an Alaska license. Matter of fact, if you needed nursing care, you would want her at your bedside, regardless of her licensure.
So, when it comes to teaching and nursing, it matters little the source of one’s licensure. What really matters is the quality of teaching and nursing. By providing teacher and nurse courtesy licenses to Active Duty military spouses, the State Of Alaska reaps the rewards of qualified professionals who add to the Alaska economy and also improve the morale of the military family.
Thank you for offering this bill and I hope you thoughtfully consider the above recommendations. This is the least we can do for our military families.