Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (not yet passed)

Below is a message sent to AFCPE Military Spouse Fellows this week
(I wanted to share with Crazy Amazing Military Life readers, since it may affect you. Please take action if you are so inclined)

…Rebecca Poynter and Joanna Williamson have been working with Congressman Carter to pass the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act.

The bill has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate just this Friday because someone objected to the language regarding giving military spouses the same benefit of residency relief that our service members currently enjoy.The current bill, HR 6225 (ours was rolled into it) is currently in the Veteran’s Affairs committee of the Senate.[Poynter and Williamson] are encouraging all military spouses to call the Senators on the VA committee (and speak to their Legislative Aide) and to tell them their story of how having to change driver’s licenses, voter registrations, vehicle registrations (and the costs associated with that!), etc. has impacted them. But most importantly, to also ask them to support the Carter Military Spouses language that is part of HR6225.

[Below is a list of] the names of the Senators and Aides (where possible) below.[They’ve] come so close; [they’re] worried they are actually going to take this away from [military spouses].[They] believe in the power of the military spouse network and feel that when unleashed, is one of the greatest forces on earth. [They] would greatly appreciate your support and action on behalf of yourself as a military spouse as well as on behalf of all military spouses.

Akaka, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-6361

Aide: Lisa F.

Brown,Sherrod- (D – OH) (202) 224-2315

Aide: Diane Wilkinson

Burr, Richard- (R – NC) (202) 224-3154

Aide: Kevin Tuess(??)

Craig, Larry E.- (R – ID) (202) 224-2752

Aide: Patrick (Nielman??)

Graham, Lindsey- (R – SC) (202) 224-5972

Aide: Adam Brake

Hutchison, Kay Bailey- (R – TX) 224-5922

Aide:Isakson, Johnny- (R – GA) (202) 224-3643

Aide: Lauren Walter (along with Houston Ernst)

Murray, Patty- (D – WA) (202) 224-2621

Aide: Joshua Jacobs

Obama, Barack- (D – IL) (202) 224-2854

Aide: Ruchi Bhowmik

Rockefeller, John D., IV- (D – WV) (202) 224-6472

Aide: Clete Johnson or Barbara Pryor

Sanders, Bernard- (I – VT) (202) 224-5141

Aide: Janko Mitric

Specter, Arlen- (R – PA) (202) 224-4254

Aide: Will Wagner

Tester, Jon- (D – MT) (202) 224-2644

Aide: James Wise

Webb, Jim- (D – VA) (202) 224-4024

Aide: William Edwards

Wicker, Roger F.- (R – MS) (202) 224-6253

If you prefer to email the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, you may do so via web form: Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs link

4 Responses

  1. I had no idea it was a problem. In 26 years my wife and I always had a Florida drivers license, Florida Tags (local insurance) and Voter registration of my original home of record (parents house in Florida) and voted absentee. Now that I retired we have moved everything over to TN.

    I guess all I can say is, Ooops.

  2. There are many spouses who are in your (family’s) same position, they simply didn’t know they had to change their residency. After all, if the service member is covered by the SCRA and, if when married two become one, then why shouldn’t the spouse be covered also? I happen to agree, the spouse should be covered but unfortunately, we’re not. That means that very often (and this is state specific) we may be voting in the wrong state, paying vehicle registrations to the wrong state and driving on a license from the wrong state.

    But this also affects our taxes. Depending on which study you read, more than 60% of military spouses work outside of the home. Our service members get to keep a home state for tax purposes and we don’t. If you have a DoD mandated move in the middle of the year and find a job at your new duty station, you now have the hassle of filing taxes in two states. If your DoD mandated move takes you to a state with higher income taxes, you now make less. Let’s remember, for the most part (I’m not saying always), military spouses have to start at the bottom of the pay scale for that particular position. Why can’t we cover spouses the same way we cover our service members?

    The original SCRA that protects our service members from various residency issues was enacted in the 1940s. The1940s. Hasn’t life changed since then? Let’s bring this protection up to date and, since the DoD and the President have acknowledged that military families serve too, let’s protect our spouses from the same issues that our service members have been protected from for almost 70 years.

    Passing HR 6225, with the inclusion of the Military Spouse Residency language, goes a long way toward concretely addressing the challenges of military families. This is an easy one, let’s get it passed!

  3. I believe Florida is an exception to policy, please view:

  4. Diana,

    The website you provide does not address the issue of military spouses. That’s about military members. (I say this as one whose spouse is a FL resident, and I’ve read that website every year for 11 years when renewing our tags!)

    We were told by a JAG attorney that my residency was the same as my active duty spouse’s. Now that I’m working again, I’ve found out that the IRS feels differently.

    If you are working, this is a huge deal, and I’d advise all spouses to advocate for this bill’s passage.

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