House passes Stefanik bill to help military spouses

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday proposed by North Country U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik that would ease documentation requirements for spouses of military members who frequently must relocate to meet military mandates.

The bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate.

The Military Residency Choice Act would give military spouses the choice to establish the same state of residency as their spousal service member, giving them the benefit of keeping the same state of residency for voting and tax purposes.

Current law allows active-duty service members to maintain one state of legal residence for tax and voting purposes, even when ordered to relocate. But this does not apply to a service member’s spouse.

In a speech before members of Congress on Monday, Stefanik, R-Willsboro, conveyed that the new law would relieve undue stress and anxiety from military families who already are dealing with relocation, as spouses must establish residency every time their spousal service member receives a new assignment.

“They sacrifice a great deal during these relocations,” Stefanik said of military spouses, “uprooting their lives and disrupting their families — all while serving as the critical support system for their loved ones.

“Military spouses serve, too,” the congresswoman added, “and this bill eliminates the daunting task of documenting multiple tax jurisdictions and helps reduces instances of military spousal unemployment.”

By Patricia Older

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