After the Alabama House awarded final passage on Thursday to a package of bills drafted by the Alabama Military Stability Commission and designed to retain, protect, and improve the federal military presence and investment across the state, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth issued the following statement:

“With the passage of this legislation, Alabama has signaled to the Pentagon that we value the military bases located here and are ready for even more expansion and investment.  More importantly, though, we have taken large steps toward improving the lives of our active military personnel and the families that support them.

The federal military bases located in Alabama play an important role in our state’s economy and job climate, so protecting and expanding their footprint must always be a top priority.  The cities and counties that house military bases also know their importance in providing employment opportunities and revenues in local economies.

When the Department of Defense recently released its grading system that determined Space Command Headquarters would locate in Huntsville, one of the few areas in which Alabama scored low was professional license reciprocity for military spouses.  This package, which will soon be signed into law, addresses that specific need, among others, and helps ensure that other states can no longer compete with us in any category.

Providing a more welcoming environment and a better quality of life to the men and women who wear a uniform and devote their lives to protecting our nation is among the most satisfying accomplishments of my public service, and I deeply appreciate Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Pro Tem Greg Reed, the bill sponsors, the commission members, and others across Alabama who joined us in making it happen.”

Among the bills in the package are measures that will allow military dependents attending public colleges and universities in Alabama to pay in-state tuition while stationed here, extend the enrollment deadline for military families to apply for magnet schools, guarantee the acceptance of out-of-state occupational licenses for military dependents in various professions, and others.

The Alabama Military Stability Commission, which is chaired by Ainsworth and comprised of several elected officials, cabinet members, and regional appointees from areas across the state with a heavy defense concentration, was created by state statute in 2011.