CHEYENNE — Three bills to show the Pentagon that Wyoming is friendly to veterans moved a step closer to becoming law Tuesday
The proposals received preliminary approval in the state House after clearing the Senate. They must be approved two more times in the House before they clear the full Legislature.
Bill supporters said a chart in the Pentagon marks Wyoming with a red dot for failing to have laws giving consideration to members of the military and their spouses in obtaining professional licenses. Two of the bills moving through the House remedy that omission.
Senate File 130 tells Wyoming professional boards, with some exceptions, to adopt rules to recognize military service as credit toward licensing. Professional licensing boards for lawyers, doctors and pharmacists are among those exempt from the requirement.
Senate File 74 says the professional boards may adopt rules to allow the spouses of military veterans to get temporary permits or licenses. Rep. Dave Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, said military families move often and the spouses often cannot meet residency requirements because they don’t stay in one place long enough. The bill allows the spouses to get around the residency requirement imposed by some professional boards.
“We’re trying to establish Wyoming as a very friendly military state,” Zwonitzer said. He noted the missile center at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne could be moved to an adjacent state.
Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle, opposed the bill on grounds it sets a precedent. He said he supported the bill for military members but questioned the need for special consideration for their spouses.
Rep. Lynn Hutchings, R-Cheyenne, is a retired veteran. She said military members leave a station with their friends and have friends at their new station, but not the spouses. The bill gives the spouses a “leg up,” Hutchings said.
The House passed both bills on voice vote, along with Senate File 46, which protects veterans’ disability compensation in divorce settlements.
The bills are among a package of proposals aimed at helping returning military veterans that are passing the House and Senate this session.