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A new law allows states to issue commercial driver's licenses to military personnel living in the state, a move that could make it easier for separating service members to get post-military jobs.
The Military Commercial Driver's License Act, passed by Congress on Oct. 2 and signed into law by President Obama on Monday, changes federal law to allow states to waive a residency requirement for issuing commercial licenses to service members living in the state.
The relaxed federal law is limited to active and reserve members.
This is not a guarantee; the law allows, but does not require, states to issue licenses to service members. However, the change will allow the services to set up arrangements for quick commercial licenses to be issued to service members as soon as they complete training.
The change is endorsed by the American Legion, the nation's largest veterans' organization, and by the commercial trucking industry. The Truckload Carriers Association, which supported the bill in Congress, estimates there are 200,000 long-haul trucking jobs available today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists commercial trucking as a high-demand job, with more than 300,000 additional positions expected by 2020.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., one of the sponsors of the initiative, said the change will help service members who have had frequent deployments and reassignments get a commercial driver's license in advance of their leaving the military, smoothing the transition to civilian life.