Active duty military members and their spouses would not have to pay a fee to obtain a real estate license in Nebraska under a bill heard Jan. 22 by the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee.
Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue introduced LB12 to remove barriers to employment for members of military families, she said. The bill would apply to service members or their spouses with a valid real estate license from another state or regulatory jurisdiction.
“Up to 90 percent of military spouses are either unemployed or under-employed, and that creates multiple problems,” Blood said. “That means our state is not collecting taxes on those individuals, those families have less disposable income to spend in our state and when a serviceman, or woman, is ready to retire and they have an unhappy spouse, they may not stay here in Nebraska because the spouse is unable to find appropriate employment.”
Martin Dempsey, a regional liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense, testified in support of the bill. He said taking care of military spouses was the No. 1 priority of the department.
“We realized that if the family is not happy, we’re not going to retain that active-duty member,” Dempsey said.
Nicole Fox of the Platte Institute also testified in favor of the bill. She said it would be particularly beneficial for military families that are often on the move.
“According to the Obama administration’s 2015 occupational licensing report, 35 percent of military spouses in the labor force work in professions that are regulated, and they are 10 times more likely to have moved across state lines in the last year than their civilian counterparts,” Fox said.
No one testified in opposition to LB12 and the committee took no immediate action on it.