Military Spouses Finally have a State to call Home; Landmark Legislation becomes Law

On Veterans Day, President Barack Obama signed into law the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (SR 475, HR 1182) providing the spouse of military personnel the option to claim the same state of domicile as their active duty spouse.
 
Nov. 13, 2009 - PRLog -- Washington, DC –On Veterans Day, President Barack Obama signed into law the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (S 475 and HR 1182).  This bill amends the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) of 1940, guaranteeing the equity of the spouse of military personnel by providing them the option to claim the same state of domicile as their active duty spouse.

The law improves the quality of life for military families by allowing the military spouse to claim the same state of domicile as their active duty spouse and guarantees equity regarding matters of property, taxes, voting and residency.  Often, military spouses would experience impediments in voting and property ownership as well as deterrents in employment and education because they accompany their active duty spouse under federal government orders.

Congressman John Carter (R-TX), who represents Fort Hood, the largest military installation in the country, introduced the bill.  “This is fantastic news for our service families worldwide,” says Carter.  The bill passed through the House earlier this month with strong bipartisan support.  

Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) brought the companion bill before the Senate, which passed unanimously in August.  “Our military families are often called on to make frequent relocations, and it is only fair that we give the same residency benefits to spouses as we do to service members,”  Burr said in a statement.

Congressman Carter credits two military spouses, Rebecca Poynter and Joanna Williamson, with approaching him with their recommendation to petition Congress for reform.  “It’s their baby, and they should be recognized,” Carter acknowledged.  

Over 8,500 military spouses, friends and family members united to support the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Military-Spouses...  It is here that military spouses from all branches of service united to share their individual stories and contacted Congressional representatives to ask for their support of the bill.  “It has been a grass roots effort by thousands of spouses across the country, who have campaigned to get this passed,” explains Poynter.

“The support from Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the Veterans Service Organizations, who testified on our behalf is greatly appreciated,” said Williamson. “Together, we claim this victory for all military families.”

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Supporters of the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (HR 1182, S 475), the only comprehensive military family legislation currently in Congress. The bill would allow the military spouse to claim the same home state of residency as the service member.
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