The following items are taken from reports issued by legislators and other items of political concern.
Nursing students
   Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo, Daniel Benson, both D-Mercer, Middlesex, and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, to help nursing students get academic credit for training received as corpsmen and medics in the United States military has been approved by the full Senate.
   ”Military realities, like deployment and relocation, can make meeting credit requirements challenging for soldiers who are going to school,” Assemblyman DeAngelo said. “If the medical training received in the military is comparable to what they would learn in nursing school, then the school should be able to grant these students the credits that will help them get their degrees in a timely manner.”
   The bill (A2061) would direct the New Jersey Board of Nursing to encourage schools of nursing approved by the board to consider granting a nursing student, who served in the United States military, academic credit toward the student’s nursing degree for the student’s prior training and experience as a Naval corpsman or Army medic. The bill would take effect on the 90th day after enactment.
   ”Many of these soldiers who are studying to become nurses are not only trained, but have actual field experience,” Assemblyman Benson said. “Higher education institutions allow students to gain academic credits through internships. There is no reason why nursing schools could not offer the same opportunity for our men and women in uniform based on their military service.”
   ”The state’s nursing workforce faces a projected shortage of thousands of nurses in less than two decades, which will impact patient care,” Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle said. “Giving students academic credits for comparable medical training received in the military can help us counter this expected shortage and ensure that there will be adequate nursing professionals to care for patients in the future.”
   The bill passed the Senate 36-0. It was approved 76-0 by the Assembly on March 21, 2013. It now will go to the governor for further consideration.
Military spouses
   Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Cleopatra Tucker, Troy Singleton, Timothy Eustace, Pamela Lampitt, Lou Greenwald and John Wisniewski that would allow nonresident military spouses to seek temporary licensure from certain professional and occupations licensing boards upon moving to New Jersey has been approved in a Senate session.
   The bill (A3427) would provide a “nonresident military spouse” an opportunity to seek a one-year temporary licensure with an option to apply for an extension at the end of the year.
   Under the bill, a “nonresident military spouse” is defined as a person who does not live in New Jersey, but is married to an active duty member of the Armed Forces who has been transferred here as part of their service, is legally domiciled in the state or has moved to the state on a permanent change-of-station basis.
   ”This is an opportunity for the state to help military families bridge the employment gap when transferred and see little disruption in earning an income for their family,” said Assemblywoman Tucker, D-Essex. “In a year- or two-year time, if the individual has permanently relocated to New Jersey, this temporary license will give them time to seek permanent licensure while continuing to make a living.”
   ”Frequent relocation is a part of military life. New Jersey understands that,” said Assemblyman Singleton, D- Burlington. “The bill would help ease transitions for nonmilitary spouses with licensed professional careers by providing an opportunity to continue to do what they are trained for, earn an income and support their families.”
   ”The legislation is consistent with legislative efforts being made in other states across the nation,” said Assemblyman Eustace, D-Bergen, Passaic. “New Jersey should make it easier for qualified military spouses to maintain licensure and pursue employment quickly after relocation.”
   ”A military family depending on two incomes to support their household does not deserve to encounter trouble in securing employment, especially, if the spouse is a licensed professional,” said Assemblywoman Lampitt, D- Camden/Burlington. “This bill will help smooth their transition to New Jersey and make it easier to continue to support their family.”
   ”The sacrifices of our military troops are also made by the people who love them, their family,” said Assemblyman Greenwald, D-Camden/Burlington. “Relocating often can be hectic and disconcerting for many in the military. New Jersey should help simplify the job aspect of the transition so they may continue to support their families without too much interference.”
   ”Finding work in this economy is hard enough. Doing so in a new state makes the process that much more difficult,” said Assemblyman Wisniewski, D-Middlesex. “Relocating at a moment’s notice is just one of the many sacrifices that our military families make for our country. The least we can do is make the job hunt easier so they can provide for their families as they settle into their new homes.”
   The bill directs the several professional and occupational licensing boards in the Division of Consumer Affairs to establish criteria for the issuance of a temporary courtesy license to a nonresident military spouse so that spouse may practice lawfully the profession or occupation regulated by that board on a temporary basis, subject to the requirements of the bill where applicable.
   A nonresident military spouse who applies for a temporary courtesy license is entitle to receive said license, if, when applicable, he or she:
   • Holds a current license to practice the profession or occupation in another jurisdiction (the District of Columbia, a territory of the United States or a state other than New Jersey) the board determines has licensure requirements that are equivalent to those adopted by the board.
   • Was engaged in the active practice of the profession or occupation in another jurisdiction for at least two of the five years immediately preceding the date of application for the temporary courtesy license for which purpose relevant full-time experience in the discharge of official duties in the Armed Forces or an agency of the federal government is to be credited in the counting of years of service.
   • Has not committed an act in another jurisdiction that would have constituted grounds for the denial, suspension or revocation of a license to practice the profession or occupation in this state.
   • Has not been disciplined and is not the subject of an investigation of an unresolved complaint or a review procedure or disciplinary proceeding, which was conducted by or is pending before a professional or occupational licensing or credentialing entity in another jurisdiction.
   • Pays for and authorizes the board to conduct a criminal history record background check of that person.
   • Pays any fee the board reasonably requires for the issuance of the temporary courtesy license.
   • Satisfies the requirements of any law, rule or regulation providing for licensure by endorsement or reciprocity.
   • Has satisfied any continuing education requirements in the jurisdiction where that person holds a current license and at the discretion of the board completes such continuing education hours or credits as may be required by the board.
   • Successfully completes a New Jersey jurisprudence examination or any other examination as required by the board.
   • Complies with any other requirements the board reasonably may determine are necessary to effectuate the purposes of the bill.
   The revocation or suspension of a nonresident military spouse’s license in the nonresident military spouse’s state of residence or any jurisdiction in which the nonresident military spouse held licensure automatically will cause the same revocation or suspension in New Jersey if based upon a charge or commission of a criminal offense, competency or harmful or inappropriate behavior.
   A board may require a nonresident military spouse who has not been actively practicing the profession in another jurisdiction during the two years immediately preceding the application to undergo additional training, testing, mentoring, monitoring or education should it deem it necessary.
   The measure was approved 38-0. It now will go to the governor for further consideration.
Doctor shortage
   Legislation sponsored by Sen. Robert Singer, R-Ocean, that establishes a physician loan redemption program for certain specialties has been passed by the full Senate.
   The bill is based on a recommendation in a report issued by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals that said loan forgiveness is one of the top factors medical residents look for in determining a practice.
   The report found New Jersey is facing significant future shortages in both primary care and several specialty areas. In 11 years, there is a projected 12 percent shortfall in the physician supply versus the likely population demand for services.
   ”It’s critical we take steps now to attract more doctors to New Jersey and draw more physicians to needed specialties,” Sen. Singer said. “Incentives like loan redemption programs are a great start to making our communities more competitive in attracting and retaining the best-trained physicians in the fields needed most. These incentives alone aren’t a final solution to the doctor shortage, but are a move in closing that gap.”
   The bill, S162, provides for redemption of qualifying loan expenses for physicians in specialties that are projected to experience a significant shortage so long as they work in New Jersey for 10 years in designated underserved areas.
   The bill must be considered in the Assembly. Sen. Singer said he looks forward to working with colleagues in the Assembly to assuring incentive measures move forward.