(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D., Cleopatra G. Tucker, Wayne P. DeAngelo, John S. Wisniewski and Celeste Riley that would grant a temporary nursing license to the qualified spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces who has been relocated to New Jersey received final legislative approval Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk.
“Relocating is part of military life, but can make steady employment difficult,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “This bill is consistent with legislative efforts being made in other states to make it easier for qualified military spouses to maintain their professional nursing licenses and pursue nursing employment options as they move from one jurisdiction to another.”
“The nursing shortage in New Jersey is made more worrisome by an older population that’s living longer,” said Tucker (D-Essex), who chairs the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bill provides an opportunity to add qualified personnel to New Jersey’s nursing workforce to help meet the anticipated increased demand for nursing services for this aging population.”
“The sacrifices made by our military men and women extend to their families,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “If a military family has been relocated to New Jersey, then it is incumbent upon us, as benefactors of their selfless service, to make it as simple as possible for spouses who are qualified nurses to find work so they can help support their families.”
The bill (A-2889) directs the New Jersey Board of Nursing to establish criteria for the issuance of a temporary courtesy license to a nonresident military spouse to lawfully practice nursing in New Jersey on a temporary basis. A military spouse is entitled to receive a temporary license if he or she:
- hold a current license to practice nursing in another jurisdiction;
- was engaged in the active practice of nursing in another jurisdiction for at least two of the five years immediately preceding the date of application for the temporary courtesy license;
- has not committed an act in another jurisdiction that would have constituted grounds for the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license to practice nursing in this state;
- has not been disciplined, and is not the subject of an investigation of an unresolved complaint, or a review procedure or disciplinary proceeding, which was conducted by, or is pending before, a professional or occupational licensing or credentialing entity in another jurisdiction;
- pays for, and authorizes the board to conduct, a criminal history record background check of that person;
- pays such fee as the board reasonably requires for the issuance of the temporary courtesy license; and
- complies with such other requirements as the board may reasonably determine necessary to effectuate the purposes of the bill.
Per the bill, a temporary courtesy license would be valid for a period of six months and could be extended at the discretion of the board for an additional six months upon request.
“Uprooting your family to a new state is a laborious process, but it is part of the sacrifice that military families make in their commitment to our country. It is only right that we return the favor,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “This bill helps lessen the burden for these families by helping military spouses in the field of nursing transition into the workforce here in the Garden State.”
“It’s difficult enough to find work in this economic climate, but especially for military spouses who are at the mercy of their significant other’s next assignment,” said Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Granting temporary nursing licenses to qualified military spouses will help these couples provide for their families as they settle into their new home state.”
The bill was approved 39-0 by the Senate on Thursday, and approved 79-0 by the Assembly in June.