R 370
2017 -- S 0951
Enacted 06/28/2017

J O I N T   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Felag, Seveney, Cote, Lynch Prata, and Jabour
Date Introduced: June 08, 2017

     WHEREAS, Since 2001, over two million American military personnel have been
deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan; and
     WHEREAS, The constant threat of foreign and domestic terrorism as well as political
instability abroad continues to require placing American military personnel in harm's way for the
greater good; and
     WHEREAS, Rhode Island, along with the rest of the country, is witnessing the return of
our husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers from the fields of battle;
     WHEREAS, Rhode Island, despite its small size, has borne a significant share of sacrifice
in these recent conflicts; and
     WHEREAS, The mobilization rate of the state's own National Guard to active duty status
is the second highest in the entire United States with over 10,000 unit deployments; and
     WHEREAS, The number of veterans living in Rhode Island who served in the Gulf Wars
is three times higher than the national per capita average, and is expected to grow as the
operational tempo declines; and
     WHEREAS, Rhode Island also has numerous active duty military and their families
stationed and living in our state, many whose spouses were employed in out-of-state licensed
occupations; and
     WHEREAS, Many newly stationed Rhode Island active-duty spouses contributed to their
families economic well-being in other state duty stations through well-paying jobs that
supplemented active duty pay; and
     WHEREAS, Certain other states recognize active-duty spouses' professional credentials
and licenses in an expedited, quasi-reciprocal manner, thus avoiding costly and time-consuming
educational, apprenticeship, and other repetitive licensure requirements; and
     WHEREAS, The fundamental freedoms enjoyed by all citizens of our state and these
United States are insured in no small part through the honorable service of our nation's active-
duty military and honored veterans; and
     WHEREAS, The people of this state owe a deep debt of gratitude for the sacrifices made
by these men and women who have placed their lives in harm's way to protect and defend our
nation from all foreign enemies and terrorist threats; and
     WHEREAS, In order to ensure that these men and women and their families, upon
returning to and/or being newly stationed in our state, may resume their educations, personal
growth, and career development in Rhode Island without delay, to obtain full-time civilian
employment and contribute to our state's economy, all branches of state government must
implement policies that will assist these individuals and their families in securing the highest
quality Yellow Ribbon educational experience under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as well-paying
employment opportunities through expedited professional credentialing and/or reciprocal
licensing rights to enhance their personal advancement and economic well-being of their families;
now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That a special legislative commission be and the same is hereby created
consisting of thirteen (13) members: three (3) of whom shall be members of the House of
Representatives, not more than two (2) from the same political party, to be appointed by the
Speaker of the House; three (3) of whom shall be members of the Senate, not more than two (2)
from the same political party, to be appointed by the President of the Senate; one of whom shall
be the Commanding Officer of the Rhode Island National Guard, or designee; one of whom shall
be the Director of Veterans Affairs, or designee; one of whom shall be the Director of the Rhode
Island Veterans Administration, or designee; and four (4) of whom shall be members of the
public who are either active-duty military or veterans, two (2) of whom shall be appointed by the
Speaker of the House, and two (2) of whom shall be appointed by the Senate President.
     In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory
commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a general assembly
resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu
of a legislator; provided, that the majority leader or the minority leader of the political party
which is entitled to the appointment consents to the appointment of the member of the general
     The purpose of said commission shall be to study and discuss national best practices and
the implementation thereof pertaining to: the state's current status of "Yellow Ribbon" schools;
educational optimization of the Post-9/11 GI Bill's educational benefits; and legislation and
regulations needed to offer active-duty military spouses and veterans expedited state certifications
or professional licensure either through: reciprocity with other states with similar requirements;
accepting relevant military training and experience for the purposes of certification requirements;
or via temporary licensure/certifications that would allow these individuals to work while
completing outstanding state requirements for full licensure and/or certification.
     Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at
the call of the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate and shall organize. The
Speaker of the House shall designate one member of the House and the President of the Senate
shall designate one member of the Senate to serve as co-chairpersons of the commission.
Vacancies in said commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment. The
membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.
     All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,
documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or
desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.
     The Joint Committee on Legislative Services is hereby authorized and directed to provide
suitable quarters for said commission; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the
General Assembly no later than April 30, 2018, and said commission shall expire on July 30,