After winning passage of several important credentialing bills on the federal level, The American Legion turned its focus to state legislatures, pushing for states to consider similar measures that allow military training and skills to fulfill requirements for professional certifications.
Largely, the efforts have yielded great results, as 37 states have either passed credentialing legislation or are currently considering it. In all, 37 credentialing bills have been signed into law, and another 85 are in various stages of consideration in state legislatures around the nation.
Thanks to lobbying from national staff and Legionnaires within each department, the Legion has scored noteworthy victories in several states, where credentialing legislation was introduced and quickly passed by a wide majority. In Indiana, a law that will make military medic training the “civilian equivalent” of training required to earn an emergency medical technician or paramedic license takes effect July 1. And in Arizona, a similar bill – H.B. 2076 – will allow for military medic training to fulfill requirements for becoming a Licensed Professional Nurse.
Other credentialing wins for the Legion have come in Georgia, where veterans’ licensing applications will receive “special consideration” from a licensing committee charged with giving waivers for military skills, and in Maryland, where Legionnaires helped introduce and pass legislation of a measure that allows military training, education and experience to count for certification qualifications. The Maryland bill also requires state universities to honor relevant military training and education for college credits.
“In Maryland we have a Legislative Call List,” said Gail Murdock, Legislative chairman of the Department of Maryland. “We have a Legion member assigned to call each of the 47 senators and 141 delegates. Once I get the word of a hearing coming up we activate the calling list, and I also request that Legion members show up to support my testimony.”
Currently, the Legion is working to pass credentialing legislation in active sessions in six different states. In California, both the senate and the house are considering bills to ease certification requirements, and in Ohio measures that will make it easier for military truck drivers to gain Commercial Driver’s Licenses currently sit in the both of the state’s chambers.
New Jersey is also in the mix, with two separate laws: one that will allow military training and education to count for credits at state institutions, and another that makes it easier for veterans with medical training to gain an EMT certification.
Similar bills are currently working their way through assemblies in Florida and Texas.
Legionnaires in the above states are encouraged to call their state legislators and urge them to vote in favor of all veterans credentialing legislation that is presented to them. In all states, Legionnaires are urged to lobby their lawmakers to introduce and pass credentialing legislation.
To find out if credentialing legislation is being considered in your state and to learn how to push for its passage, contact Steve Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The American Legion has led the fight on the credentialing issue since the mid-90s,” Gonzalez said. “Since then, we’ve seen passage of multiple credentialing laws to help veterans gain federal certifications in areas where their military training should serve them well. We’d like to see this success replicated at the state level.”