Nov. 10, 2021

HARRISBURG – The House today approved legislation written by Rep. Zach Mako (R-Lehigh/Northampton) that would help to remove obstacles for veterans and their spouses transitioning to civilian work.

House Bill 1868, which is supported by a bipartisan group of legislators, would make it easier for veterans and their spouses to obtain state licensure.

“With Veterans Day tomorrow, this legislation is just a small way to thank those who served in the military and their spouses for their sacrifice and service.” Mako said. “As a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, I know firsthand the challenges these men and women face returning to civilian life. This change will assist them in finding employment.”

“As Chair of the House Professional Licensure Committee, I believe it is important to review our existing licensing requirements and processes by our state licensing boards and commissions, and look at ways to improve these processes,” said Rep. Dave Hickernell (R-Lancaster/Dauphin). “House Bill 1868 is an important step in this direction to reduce barriers for our veterans, service members and military spouses in obtaining an occupational license in Pennsylvania.”

More specifically, the bill would:

• Require the licensing board to expedite application review for veterans and military spouses, and waive the initial licensure fee for military spouses traveling to Pennsylvania.
• Consider military experience when determining if an applicant meets qualifications.
• Use the Military Occupational Codes Crosswalk to help translate military experience into civilian licensure requirements.
• Allow for early submission for licensure renewals for military members being deployed to allow them to immediately resume employment upon return.
• Increase the presence of veterans and military spouses on licensing boards and commissions.
• Require the board to issue an expedited temporary license to service members, veterans and their spouses.

“House Bill 1868 takes a critical step in enhancing several professional licensure provisions for our veterans, service members and military spouses,” said Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming). “As majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committee, I was honored to support this important legislation through its House passage.”

“I want to thank my fellow members for working with me to get this bill across the finish line the House. This bill will help veterans, service members and their families as they transition to civilian life, smoothing the path for them to join the workforce or start their own businesses,” said Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny), who is Democratic chair of the Processional Licensure Committee and a Marine veteran. “With the media so often focusing on the differences between Democrats and Republicans, it is an excellent example of how we are working together. I also want to thank the executive directors of the Processional Licensure Committee, Marlene Wilson, Esq., for her drafting and coordination and Nicole Sidle for her cooperation.”

“Men and women in the armed forces put their lives on hold to serve our nation, but many face a tough time transitioning to the civilian workforce despite having highly marketable skills,” said Rep. Chris Sainato (D-Lawrence), who is Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “One problem is that professional licensing boards don’t always understand how military skills and experience translate to civilian license requirements. Our bill would fix that by adding more veterans to boards and putting other measures in place to make the process more veteran-friendly.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

The 183rd District includes South Whitehall (part), Washington and Whitehall (part) townships and Slatington Borough in Lehigh County. It also consists of Allen, Lehigh and Moore (part) townships, and North Catasauqua, Northampton and Walnutport boroughs in Northampton County.

Representative Zachary Mako
183rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
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