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November 3, 2009


A couple of years ago, two military spouses, Rebecca Poynter and Joanna Williamson – entrepreneurs and businesswomen – decided that they had just had ENOUGH of the tax differences, the standing in line to change their drivers licenses, not having their personal property with joint title because of tax issues, and the myriad of other consequences of having to change their state of residency every time they PCSed with their military spouses. They went to Congressman John Carter (R/Tex) who represents that behemoth in Texas – Fort Hood. He was very surprised to realize that the SCRA covered those in uniform, but not their spouses. So they began. During the first cycle, it didn’t pass through all the committees in time. But this time, it worked. Now, in the Month of the Military Family, so proclaimed by the President – we got a present.

If you haven’t watched legislation being shoved through this system – I can tell you, it’s alternatively eye glazing tedious, listening to hours of testimony (and some of it, when it’s not on YOUR bill, is unintelligible!) and then nail bitingly nervewracking, hoping someone won’t put a roadblock in the way, listening to mutterings about which way a Senator or a Congressman is thinking about maybe voting… As the saying goes, sausage and legislation – you shouldn’t watch either being made.

Then yesterday, instead of it going through another committee, it went to the full House. It passed the Senate a while ago, and this was the final step. With a final plea from Congressman John Carter (R/Tex) – on a voice vote, it passed. IT PASSED!!

From the AP

Congress on Monday sent President Barack Obama a bill that allows military spouses to claim residency in the same state as their wives or husbands.

Under current law, service members can choose to keep their original residency as they relocate.

Spouses who lobbied for the change said having that same right would prevent hassles associated with every move, such as obtaining a new driver’s license and reregistering to vote. In some cases, it also eliminates the need for couples to file separate tax returns and lowers the income taxes that some spouses pay.

Moving is a ritual repeated nearly every three years on average for military families.

The House passed the legislation on a voice vote. Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, a bill sponsor who represents Fort Hood, Texas, said it would give “invaluable relief to numerous military spouses who regularly uproot their entire lives to accommodate our Armed Forces.”

Carter said in a statement that he expects Obama to sign the legislation into law in the next few days.

The legislation had already won approval in the Senate, where it was sponsored by Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

So on behalf of all the readers and the authors of LeftFace – THANK YOU to Rebecca and Joanna, thank you to Congressman Carter, Senators Burr and Feinstein, to all the people who called their elected representatives to support this bill, to the Veterans and Military Associations who supported this effort and who testified at the hearings for it.


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