KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) - Texas lawmakers are considering legislation known as the "Chris Kyle Bill." He's the Navy SEAL killed at a North Texas gun range back in February.
The new law would help fast-track law enforcement or other skilled work for retiring service members as well as for their spouses. It's something Kyle was in the process of doing.
One military spouse living near Fort Hood while her husband works as an Army mechanic is Amanda Mynatt.
Right now, she's a stay-at-home mom by default. Other than her family, her passion is law enforcement.
She is trained as police officer in Mississippi and says she has five years' experience there. The family moved to Central Texas this winter. But she can't return to work with any recognized police agency here unless she completes the five month-long Texas state police academy to gain a Texas peace officer's license.
"I would rather not go through another academy. If I don't, I'm going to lose everything I worked for," she told KXAN.
That would mean redoing basic courses like firearms training and evidence gathering, along with driving and arrest techniques.
Texas Senate Bill 162 aims to fix that by allowing qualified *spouses of active military to go through expedited state licensing for careers like police work.
It's welcomed by the Texas Veterans Commission and its employment program managers since the bill also makes it faster for recently retired military to get their peace officer's license, including ex- special forces.
The thinking is, these service members have acquired various levels of skills in their military lives like tactical training that can translate into civilian professional life in a police agency.
"Some of the folks we get from the military end up being our best people. They understand chain of command, they understand how to operate within a paramilitary structure and they turn out real well, said Chief Sean Mannix with Cedar Park Police.
He also said he likes the bill because it does not restrict police chiefs like him from dictating what training they need on the local level.
It's also a win-win for small to medium sized police agencies like Cedar Park's where every training dollar counts.
"We don't have to sponsor and send them through the academy. We get to send them directly into our internal training programs, added Mannix.
Back in Killeen, Amanda Mynatt's patience is wearing thin, admitting "If I have to to keep from losing what I have I will (take state the Texas state licensing exam). I'm 34, so I'm not getting any younger."
If the Senate bill passes along with its companion HB45, the amendments to state occupational code would begin by next January.
Already, at least 34 other states have similar jobs laws in place for retiring military and their spouses or are working on them.
And just this week in Ft. Hood, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced the creation of the Military Spouse Employment Advisory Council (MSEAC).
The effort is dubbed one of the first private sector-led councils formed specifically to address military spouse unemployment. A release said it "will concentrate on helping spouses across the country find meaningful employment, by connecting spouses to national and local employers of all kinds."
In 2012, over 1 in 4 military spouses in America were unemployed, the release said.
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