OLYMPIA – Military families will have less regulations and stronger protections thanks to two new bills passed by the Legislature this year. Rep. Mari Leavitt, D-University Place, introduced two bills directly affecting military families by helping veterans acquire commercial driver’s licenses and guaranteeing in-state resident status for service members and their families pursuing a higher education.
House Bill 2188 helps the many veterans who have the federal qualifications for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) but have not gone through the state Department of Licensing (DOL) process, which includes an instruction course and a knowledge and skills test. Since many veterans have the unique skills and have met federal requirements, those steps are unnecessary. Leavitt’s legislation allows DOL to waive the knowledge examination requirements for those veterans who meet the federal requirements. HB 2188 passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate 48-1.
“Our veterans shouldn’t be jumping through extra hoops while trying to work in our state and I am happy they no longer will have to when it comes to commercial driver’s licensing requirements,” said Leavitt.
Another bill introduced by Leavitt lives on as an amendment to another bill. House Bill 2185 codifies into law the practice of providing in-state resident status for the purpose of college tuition for service members and their family when they have been stationed out of state. Even though that is current practice, it is not currently required by law. HB 2185 was incorporated into House Bill 2543, introduced by Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, which passed the House and Senate unanimously. HB 2543 bypasses retirement paperwork requirements for in-state residency status for retiring military service members.
“I’m grateful the Senate decided to include my bill in Rep. Paul’s bill and we are now guaranteeing those military service members and their family who want to go to a Washington college or university are able to do so without fear of losing their in-state residency,” said Leavitt.