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Bill would help vets, spouses find work

Executive BranchMartin O'Malley

Gov. Martin O'Malley's introduction of the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013 is a great stride forward for Maryland's veterans. As the governor stated in his testimony on the bill in early February, military service members and their spouses too often face hurdles regarding employment.

While a majority of those involved with the bill are supportive, the recent coverage by The Sun mentioned opposition within the nursing field ("Bill for hiring veterans draws praise, concern," Feb. 20). The statements made by Mary Kay DeMarco of the Maryland Nurses Association that the military service members and spouses who would receive expedited or temporary licenses under the bill are "not qualified" and would "pose a serious threat to care" are completely arbitrary.

Any military education and training credited toward licensure must meet requirements determined by the issuing unit or board themselves, and regulations to implement the bill as necessary are permitted. The license must be given if the applicant meets specified requirements "unless the issuance of the license would pose a risk to public health, welfare, or safety."

Secondly, The Sun neglected to mention that those waiting "until they [meet] all of Maryland's licensing rules" are required to already hold a valid license in good standing issued in another state. The bill states that training must be "substantially equivalent to, or exceed the requirements for, licensure in Maryland." If the issuing unit or board does not feel this is met, they need not give approval.

These service members don't assume a claim to RN level because they've once tied a bandage; these are highly skilled, battle-trained individuals. These are adept professionals whom Maryland would be proud to call residents. These are the soldiers protecting our freedom. Do we honestly view them as unqualified or a serious threat to care?

Sixteen states already grant these provisions to military service members and their spouses. Why would we drive them away?

Chris Busch, Columbia

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