NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) sat at the end of a long conference table last week in Dominion Tower, flanked by about 20 military spouses.

“We move from job to job, not because we want to, but because we have to,” said one military wife, summing up the plight of all those surrounding her.

Senator Tim Kaine is one of four lawmakers, two Republicans and two Democrats, who have sponsored the Military Spouse Hiring Act. It would give employers more incentive to hire the spouses of active-duty military members.

Amy Beaulieu is a registered nurse and attended Kaine’s roundtable discussion. Her husband is active-duty Air Force, and they’ve moved every two years for the past 23 years. She keeps having to change jobs, and despite her experience, keeps having to start at the bottom.

“The jobs that are open are entry-level, they are the worst shifts,” Beaulieu said. “It’s tiring and sometimes exhausting to be the guy that no matter how much senior you are in your personal life, you end up being at the bottom of somebody’s career field at each and every assignment.”

Kaine says he’s already aware of workplace discrimination.

“Employers have said this to me, and they’ve acknowledged – ‘I’d hire more military spouses, but if they’re gonna get transferred in 18 months, then I will lean in the other direction'”.

The legislation would give employers two kinds of incentives. First for hiring military spouses, and then incentives for retraining when those spouses get transferred.

“The military spouse unemployment rate has not been coming down,” Kaine said, and it’s much higher than the civilian unemployment rate.

The latest national unemployment rate is 3.6, and Virginia is even lower at 3%. But the most recent data from the Military Family Lifestyle Survey shows the military spouse unemployment rate is 20% – five times greater than the nation as a whole.

“Military spouse employment is about a life cycle. It’s about having financial security,” said Trish Alegre-Smith. She’s an Air Force veteran and her husband is active-duty at Joint Base Langley/Ft. Eustis.

She wants to see military spouses get the same attention as military veterans.

“Let’s address it with the same vigor and the same amount of detail that we did for veteran unemployment.”

Kaine says he’s also working with the Council of Governors to get states to coordinate their licensing for certain occupations such as teaching, real estate, and nursing to name a few. That would keep military spouses from having to re-certify when they get transferred to another state.