Diegnan, Burzichelli, Tucker & Wisniewski Bill to Help Military Spouses Find Work Becomes Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Democrats Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., John Burzichelli, Cleopatra Tucker and John Wisniewski that would help military spouses with out-of-state teaching license become eligible to find work more quickly in New Jersey was signed into law today.

“Military families make many sacrifices while in service to our country, including frequent deployments and relocations,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Moving from state to state can be a disruptive barrier to a military spouse’s employment, particularly when his or her field requires a state-specific professional license. This new law will help make for a smoother transition to their new home.”

The bill (A-2892) would require the State Board of Education to establish a procedure for the issuance of a temporary instructional certificate to a nonresident military spouse.

“Teaching is one of the most common occupations among military spouses. But unlike other professions, it requires a license, which presents a challenge for military families that are constantly on the move,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Providing a temporary license for qualified teachers who have relocated to New Jersey is the least we can do.”

It would authorize a board of education to employ that individual as a teacher if they hold a valid license or certificate to teach issued by another state for which there is an equivalent and currently-issued New Jersey grade level or subject endorsement. They would also have to demonstrate competency in teaching in a manner determined by the State Board of Examiners, such as having taught successfully for at least three years, having met the New Jersey grade point average requirement for an instructional certificate or having completed continuing education units.

“The unemployment rate for military spouses is unacceptable given the sacrifices they make,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “New Jersey can always use good and experienced teachers. If these individuals have the appropriate licenses and qualifications, then they should have the opportunity to teach in our schools.”

The bill defines “nonresident military spouse” as a person whose spouse is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is the subject of a military transfer to New Jersey and who has left employment in another state to accompany such spouse to New Jersey. A temporary instructional certificate would be valid for 180 days and may be extended for another 180 days at the discretion of the State Board of Examiners.

The temporary instructional certificate would allow the nonresident military spouse to be employed as a teacher on a temporary basis while completing any specific additional requirements for an instructional certificate in New Jersey that were not required in the other state in which the nonresident military spouse holds a license or certificate to teach.

The bill was approved by the Assembly, 76-0 and by the Senate 40-0 on March 18.