First lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to visit the Naval Academy and the State House in Annapolis today as she praises a new Maryland law as setting a national standard for legislation to help veterans get professional credentials, the White House said.

Her arrival coincides with Gov. Martin O'Malley signing the bill, which passed the General Assembly unanimously this month. It aims to ease Maryland veterans' transition from the military to civilian jobs and universities, as well as help veterans and military spouses get professional licenses for more than 70 jobs when they move here.

The first lady and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, have asked governors to help ease licensing requirements for both military spouses and for veterans.

"It really is a model piece of legislation," Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's chief of staff, said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters.

This year, 13 states passed laws to expedite licenses and credentials for veterans. Eight states passed laws extending that benefit to military spouses who move to their states, according to the White House, which said Maryland's bill goes further than any other.

Maryland's law also sets guidelines for universities to accept military education and training for college credits. The push to help veterans find jobs comes as their unemployment rate is higher than the national average, particularly among veterans deployed after 9/11.

The first lady is expected to meet with midshipmen at the Naval Academy as well as service members who would be affected by Maryland's new law. She will also attend the bill signing at the State House this afternoon.

Security at the State House was heightened this morning in advance of Michelle Obama's visit. A regular Board of Public Works meeting normally held in the governor's conference room was moved to another building and extra security checkpoints were added.

ecox@baltsun.com