Lawmakers Put Aside Partisanship to Reform the National Guard
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2016
JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate voted unanimously Sunday night in favor of House Bill 126 to reform the Alaska National Guard by creating a Code of Military Justice based on the federal Uniform Code of Military Justice. The code has not been updated since 1955, and most Guard members did not know a Code of Military Justice existed. HB 126 passed the Alaska House of Representatives in February, also by a unanimous vote. The new Code of Military Justice lays out the process to deal with members of the Alaska National Guard who violate military rules and orders.
“Updating Alaska’s Code of Military Justice is long overdue. I want to thank every member of the House and Senate for recognizing that the Alaska National Guard must be protected so this honorable institution can continue serving Alaska and the nation,” said Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), who worked closely with his colleagues in the House and Senate to reach bipartisan support for HB 126.
Rep. Tuck sponsored legislation last year to update the Code of Military Justice, and the version of HB 126 that passed included several of the provisions from that bill. Another lawmaker who worked diligently on HB 126 was the late Rep. Max Gruenberg, who passed away suddenly in February while still in office.
“Rep. Gruenberg worked very hard making House Bill 126 a piece of legislation that could pass the Alaska Legislature unanimously and stand the test of time,” said Rep. Tuck. “As a matter of fact, he had just wrapped up working on amendments to the bill the day before he died. HB 126 is a good bill that will go a long way to fixing the problems and scandals that came to light a few years ago within the Alaska National Guard.”
The need to update the Code of Military Justice for the Alaska National Guard was detailed in the 2014 report from the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations, which documented abuses and disciplinary deficiencies.
HB 126 now goes to Alaska Governor Bill Walker for his signature.
For more information, please contact Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.