WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- First lady Michelle Obama urged members of the National Governors Association to allow professional license portability for U.S. military spouses.
Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, addressed the group, which is meeting in Washington to promote the goal of seeing all 50 states pass legislation that supports military spouse license portability by 2014.
Biden said one of the issues they have heard consistently in their visits to U.S. military bases is the difficulty military spouses have in continuing their careers because of state professional licensing requirements.
More than 100,000 military spouses are in professions such as teaching, nursing, real estate and child care that require a state license or credential. Each move to a new state can mean different credentialing or licensing standards, which can sometimes take months to resolve.
"Because military transfers often require spouses to move from state to state, the issue of license portability is a real challenge for military spouses," Biden said Monday.
Twelve states have passed legislation to fix these licensing issues for military spouses and lawmakers in California, Louisiana, Illinois and Wyoming have introduced bills in the last two weeks.
The first lady said she and Biden are not asking for any changes to professional standards.
"And we're certainly not asking anyone to set a lower bar for our military spouses -- they're the first ones who don't want exceptions to the rule for them," Obama said. "But what we are asking is for a level playing field. We just want to make sure that these spouses have a fair shot to pursue their careers and support their families."