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February 16, 2024

House Advances Bills to Recognize and Support Military Families

DENVER, CO - The House today passed two bills on a preliminary vote to support military families. HB24-1076 would create the Purple Star School Program to recognize K-12 public schools that provide support to military students and their families. HB24-1097 would extend the Occupational Credential Portability Program to dependents and Gold Star spouses of military members. 

“Children that are a part of military families are especially vulnerable to the changes that come with moving schools, making new friends and joining extracurricular activities mid-season,” said Rep. Bob Marshall, D-Highlands Ranch, sponsor of HB24-1076. “When I served in the Marine Corps, my own daughter once changed schools three times in one year. This legislation will help students that are part of military families during the transition process so they can focus on learning, growing and socializing within a program that fosters support.”

“These important bills uplift our military families which strengthens communities, supports our workforce and recognizes the day-to-day sacrifices made by those who serve our nation and their families,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB24-1076 and HB24-1097. “As the representative for a community with a long tradition of military service, the two pieces of legislation that advanced today will help ease the school transition for kids in military families and extend the Occupational Credential Portability Program to dependents and spouses of military members.” 

HB24-1076 establishes the Purple Star School Program to designate and recognize K-12 public schools that show a strong commitment to military-connected students and their families. The Purple State School Program has been adopted by 42 other states and is proven to help military-connected students combat the academic and socio-emotional challenges they often face due to frequent relocation, transferring schools, parental deployment and changing environments.

To qualify for the Purple Star designation, schools must:

  • Designate a staff member as a Military Liaison,

  • Maintain a website with resources for military-connected students and families,

  • Maintain student-led transition programs, and

  • Offer professional development opportunities relating to military-connected students.

HB24-1097, also sponsored by Representative Rick Taggart, R-Grand Junction, allows dependents and Gold Star spouses of US Armed Forces members to participate in the Occupational Credential Portability Program. It also changes the Occupational Credential Portability Program by:

  • Eliminating the temporary nature of the licensing program,

  • Requiring that regulators, when reviewing an application, focus on whether an applicant has a license in good standing, and

  • Increases the validity of licenses from 3 to 6 years and makes them renewable.

The Occupational Credential Portability Program was created by bipartisan 2020 legislation to streamline and centralize the credentialing of individuals licensed in another state. The law applies to professions ranging from doctors and veterinarians to electricians and barbers.

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