CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Thursday signed an executive order meant to help husbands and wives of military members find work faster in the state.
Speaking before a crowd of West Virginia National Guard members in the governor's reception room Thursday morning, Tomblin said military families are 10 times more likely to move across state lines than other families.
Spouses of military members often must leave their jobs and look for work in their new hometown, Tomblin said. That process is difficult enough, but is much more frustrating for spouses whose occupations require state-issued licenses or certificates.
That would include everyone from teachers and lawyers to barbers, morticians and physical therapists.
"To have that second income coming in is very important," Tomblin said.
He said it currently can take months before these moms and dads receive the necessary certification and begin working again.
His order creates the Governor's Commission on Military Spousal Licensure, which will consider state licensure requirements and look at ways for military spouses to begin working in West Virginia as quickly as possible.
First lady Joanne Tomblin will serve as chairwoman of the 11-member commission. The group also will include two representatives from the governor's office, Adjutant Gen. James Hoyer or his designee, and seven more members appointed by the governor: three military spouses working in a profession that requires a license or certificate, plus four more individuals representing professions requiring licenses or certificates.
The commission will meet throughout the year and submit its findings to the governor by Dec. 15. Tomblin said his office would take recommendations from the commission and craft legislation for the 2014 legislative session.
Joanne Tomblin said she first became aware of licensure issues in military families at a meeting of the National Governors' Association earlier this year.
She said 17 states already have laws on the books to help military spouses get their necessary licenses as quickly as possible. As of January 15 more states had active bills in their legislatures regarding military spouse licensure.
West Virginia was not one of those states.