Bill aims to help military spouses after relocating by granting provisional licenses to work

AB 186 introduced by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein

SAN DIEGO - A state bill that was recently introduced aims to make sure military spouses never have to be out of work when they relocate.

Justin and Vida Donnette are from New York. He is in the Navy. She was a registered nurse there. But when she started looking for work in San Diego, she found it challenging.

"You can't work," she said. "It's hard to find an interview because the first thing they ask is are you a registered nurse in California…OK, I'm out."

The Donnettes are not alone. That is why they met with state Assemblyman Brian Maienschein. He represents the 77th district, which includes northeastern San Diego County.

"You know, when we started investigating, we knew it was a problem but we didn't really realize how many families this affects," said Maienschein.

More than 72,000 families in California are affected.

An article in USAA magazine entitled "Moving Causes Career Hurdles for Military Spouses" said that it is estimated that military spouses move 10 times more than civilian spouses.

It is a story that 10News first emphasized in 2008 as Michele McKnight, the wife of a Marine, was getting ready to move again. Her worry then was over her daughter's education.

"We didn't expect the curriculum to be so different," she told 10News. "There's a huge gap."

The gap was closed with an education compact between states. That is what Maienschein is trying to do with a bill he introduced when it comes to employment.

"What this will allow is a provisional license that will work here in California until they are able to get their permanent license," he said.

In California, virtually every profession – from food prep to health care – requires a license.

"Some [military families] move like once every two years," said Donnette. "Some every four to five, it just depends."

Both are hoping that by their next move, transferring that license will not have to be as difficult.

If Maienschen's bill, AB 186, is passed, it would grant an 18-month provisional license. The bill was just introduced.

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