06.25.20

Colorado Congressional Delegation, Governor, Lieutenant Governor Highlight Transformative Legislation for Colorado’s Military Families in Letter to Defense Department, Air Force

Gardner, Colleagues Applaud Signing of Colorado Bill to Improve Military Spouse Licensure Practices, Bolster Colorado’s Chances for Selection as Permanent U.S. Space Command HQ

Washington, D.C. – Following Governor Jared Polis’ signing of Colorado House Bill 20-1326, legislation to improve military spouse licensure practices in the state, the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation, Polis, and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera wrote to U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett to highlight the new Colorado law and further demonstrate that Colorado is the best state to serve as the permanent home of the U.S. Space Command.  

Following unified support in the Colorado legislature, Polis signed this transformative bill into law, creating an occupational portability program therefore requiring the director of the division of regulatory agencies and regulators to strive to reduce certification, registration, and licensure barriers for applicants. Further, this law now makes certain that Colorado provides universal license recognition for military spouses, requiring the issuance of three-year temporary licenses to military spouses for all occupations subject to the regulatory authority of the state of Colorado, such as doctors, nurses, electricians, and plumbers, at no cost to the applying military spouse.

“The unanimous passage and signing of this important legislation into law is just one of the many ways that Colorado continues to demonstrate its support for the military,” wrote the lawmakers. “Supporting military families is an issue of readiness, retention and national security. Our state has made it a priority to ensure that military spouses are able to access employment opportunities that use their professional training and education. We applaud the Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force for continuing to encourage communities across the nation to prioritize the welfare of our nation’s military families.”

This announcement follows the U.S. Department of the Air Force’s decision to keep U.S. Space Command headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, until 2026 while the permanent basing decision process is completed by the Air Force. The Air Force has determined a detailed list of criteria for the permanent headquarters, such as community support for service families, including military spouse employment and licensure reciprocity.

The letter was signed by Colorado U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D), Colorado U.S. Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D), Scott Tipton (R), Doug Lamborn (R), Joe Neguse (D), Diana DeGette (D), Jason Crow (D), and Ken Buck (R), Governor Jared Polis and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera.

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Secretary Esper and Secretary Barrett:

We write to share an important update concerning military spouse licensure practices in Colorado, which will further improve the quality of life our state offers to military families. We recognize you have prioritized military spouse employment and licensure reciprocity as a key aspect of supporting service families by including it for consideration in the “community support” criteria for the U.S. Space Command basing decision and want to inform you of a recently passed state law on this topic.

Today, Governor Jared Polis signed into law Colorado House Bill 20-1326, the “Create Occupational Credential Portability Program Act.” This important legislation creates an occupational portability program, which requires the director of the division of regulatory agencies and regulators to strive to reduce certification, registration, and licensure barriers for applicants across many occupations. More importantly, this legislation ensures Colorado provides universal license recognition for military spouses. It would also require the issuance of three-year temporary licenses to military spouses for all occupations subject to the regulatory authority of the state of Colorado -- at no cost to the applying military spouse.

The unanimous passage and signing of this important legislation into law is just one of the many ways that Colorado continues to demonstrate its support for the military. Supporting military families is an issue of readiness, retention and national security. Our state has made it a priority to ensure that military spouses are able to access employment opportunities that use their professional training and education. We applaud the Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force for continuing to encourage communities across the nation to prioritize the welfare of our nation’s military families. We hope you will recognize the steps Colorado continues to take in support of these goals further demonstrating that Colorado is the ideal location for the U.S. Space Command permanent headquarters.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.