By Gov. Dennis Daugaard
Last year, I had the opportunity to join a Department of Defense trip to Kuwait and Afghanistan to visit South Dakota troops who were serving in those countries. Seeing the bleak landscape of Afghanistan and the extreme desert conditions made me appreciate even more the sacrifice that every member of our military makes for our nation.
It is not just these brave men and women who make sacrifices – their families sacrifice as well.
Just as we have military men and women overseas, there are other servicemen and women serving much closer to home here in South Dakota. Many of them are stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base. I have made a proposal to the legislature for the benefit of those families.
Thirty-five percent of military spouses in the workforce are in professions that require professional licensure or certification. When a military family is transferred to our state, that family should not lose earning power for an extended period while a spouse seeks licensure in South Dakota.
That is why I proposed a professional licensure portability bill for military spouses. It has been introduced to the Legislature as Senate Bill 117. The bill will streamline the process so that a military spouse with a license or certificate in another state can easily transfer into South Dakota.
Nearly half of our sister states have approved similar legislation, and I hope that the Legislature approves the measure, allowing South Dakota to join those states.
Our military men and women are devoted to our country. They endure greatly for us. They risk their lives and sacrifice much. One sacrifice our military families should not have to make is waiting for government to approve their ability to make a living after moving to South Dakota.
SB117 will let military families know that South Dakota welcomes them and values their great contribution to our nation.