Washington, D.C. – Today, the full House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) that will give military spouses the choice to establish the same state of residency as the service member, giving them the benefit of keeping the same state of residency for voting and tax purposes. H.R. 282, the Military Residency Choice Act, was passed unanimously by voice vote. Congresswoman Stefanik took to the House floor today to urge her colleagues to support this legislation; for video of her remarks, click here.
The transcript is below:
Mr. Speaker, my legislation gives military spouses the choice to establish the same state of residency as the service member, giving them the benefit of retaining the same state of residency for voting and tax purposes.
As the proud representative of Fort Drum and the Navy Site at Kesselring which I visited just this past Friday, I have heard firsthand about the challenges that military families face, and I have the highest respect for the sacrifices these families make to help protect our nation and safeguard our freedom.
Military families must relocate every few years due to their spouse’s responsibility to meet the requirements of the military.
They sacrifice a great deal during these relocations—uprooting their lives and disrupting their families—all while serving as the critical support system for their loved ones.
This is often a difficult and challenging time, with the heaviest burden falling upon military spouses.
Current law allows active duty service members to maintain one state of legal residence for tax and voting purposes, even when service members receive military orders requiring them to relocate.
But this does not apply to the service members’ spouse.
Essentially, this loophole requires spouses to establish residency every time the service member receives a new assignment—adding undue stress and anxiety to military families already under the pressure of managing their relocation.
This legislation fixes this inconsistency.
Military spouses serve too, and this bill eliminates the daunting task of documenting multiple tax jurisdictions and helps reduces instances of military spousal unemployment.
Traveling across the North Country of New York, I have listened to the sacrifices our military families make to keep our nation safe.
We have a duty to reduce these burdens they face.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I urge my colleagues again to support this bill on a bipartisan basis.
I yield back the balance of my time.
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe said: “Our military families make tremendous sacrifices, and we must do everything we can to support them. I thank Rep. Stefanik for her leadership on this important bill that would ease the burden placed on military spouses when their family is relocated.”
More information on this legislation can be found here:
This follows recent House passage of the FY2018 NDAA, which included two other Stefanik initiatives for military families, the Lift Relocation Burden from Military Spouses Act and The Military Family Stability Act: https://stefanik.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/fy2018-ndaa-passes-house-key-stefanik-provisions
Read more about this package of military family bills here: https://medium.com/@RepStefanik/supporting-military-families-d03305f981ee