Numerous Military Family Quality of Life Bills Pass in 2021 Legislative Session
Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, who is the Chairman of the Alabama Military Stability Commission, and the Alabama Legislature understand that Military Quality of Life issues are very important for military families living in and moving to Alabama, and that they impact each defense community across the State. As such, the Lieutenant Governor laid out a robust agenda for the 2021 Legislative Session in support of Alabama’s military-connected residents and military spouses moving to Alabama who require licensure reciprocity to continue their careers in the State. The result of Alabama’s focus on military quality of life, especially reducing the professional career barriers faced by many military spouses, will have positive impacts on both mental and financial concerns for military spouses and their Service Members.
These bills included Alabama’s entry into three (3) additional licensure compacts, allowing for increased career portability for military spouses moving to Alabama.
All three compacts are effective June 1, 2021.
The other bills in the 2021 military bills package affect education, infrastructure, Veteran employment, and more.
In addition to the military bill package, the legislature passed a resolution enacting the Purple Star Schools Program in Alabama.
Read more about these newly enacted laws below. Links to PDFs of the legislative text are included, along with links to the websites for each of the license compacts that Alabama has now joined.
Summaries and links for the remaining legislation and the Purple Star Schools Resolution are below, followed by summaries and links to bills passed over the last few years in regards to military spouse license reciprocity. These include the first two licensure compacts, which Alabama joined in 2017 and 2020.
In-State Tuition Continuity – Act No. 2021-81
Allows a minor child of a military service member to apply for entry to a higher-education institution in the State of Alabama with in-state status even when the service member parent receives orders for an out-of-state assignment. The in-state status will remain in effect as long as the child is continuously enrolled in the institution.
Alabama Purple Star Schools Program – Act No. 2021-7
Recognizes Alabama’s public K-12 and charter schools “that are especially committed to the successful transitioning of military students, and their families, to their new homes and schools and provide continuing support and resources for those students and families.”
The Alabama Purple Star Schools (ALPS) Program launches in summer 2021 and will see its first awardees in early 2022.
Requires local governments within two miles of a military installation to notify that installation of plans to build any tall structure or wind energy facility, and offer an opportunity for the leadership to review the proposed structure plans for potential impacts on the installation prior to approving its construction.
Medical License for Military Members – Act No. 2021-100
Allows the Board of Medical Examiners and Medical License Commission to “issue a temporary certificate of qualification to a physician applicant who is relocated to or stationed in this state under official military orders and who satisfies any of the following:
Is an active duty, reserve, or transitioning member of a branch of the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard.
Is the spouse of an active duty, reserve, or transitioning member of a branch of the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard.
Is the surviving spouse of a service member who, at the time of his or her death, was serving on active duty.”
Authorizes the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to “issue resident lifetime hunting and fishing licenses to disabled U.S. military Veterans.” The bill also establishes criteria and a pricing schedule.
In 2018, Alabama passed the Military Family Jobs Opportunity Act, requiring most occupational licensure boards* to provide temporary or permanent licenses to military spouses transferring to the State of Alabama. It also requires the boards to waive any initial licensing fees.
*The 2018 law does not apply to license or registration issued by the Securities Commission, the Alabama State Board of Pharmacy, Board of Dental Examiners, State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Alabama Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board, and State Board of Medical Examiners.
The on January 30, 2020, adopting the Military Spouse exemption that allows qualified spouses, moving to the State on their service member’s official PCS orders of more than 180 days, to practice law in Alabama.