BOSTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today, December 13, filed legislation aimed at modernizing and streamlining parts of the National Guard’s enabling statute, including the creation of a Uniform Code of Military Justice and an increase to the minimum daily pay for soldiers and airmen performing state active duty.
“The Massachusetts National Guard has a long history of answering calls for help from within the Commonwealth and beyond, so we are pleased to propose this appropriate pay increase for all of their hard work,” said Governor Charlie Baker, in a media statement.
“Modernizing our laws will better enable the Nation’s oldest militia to continue fulfilling its important missions, while ensuring the brave men and women of the Guard continue to lead the way with the highest of standards,” said Gov. Baker.
“It is an honor to be with Major General Gary Keefe to celebrate the National Guard’s 381st Birthday Celebration and announce this legislation to provide an important increase in compensation for our dedicated service members and families,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The National Guard has been there for us when we need them and we should make it easier for them to shoulder the financial burdens of service.”
“As Commander-In-Chief of the Massachusetts National Guard, Governor Baker is a leader in his support for service members, veterans, and their families,” said Major General Gary Keefe, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “Establishing a Massachusetts Code of Military Justice provides commanders with the tools required to maintain good order and discipline. Further enhancements to Chapter 33 will better posture the Massachusetts National Guard to answer the call to duty for the Nation and the Commonwealth. We look forward to working with Governor Baker and the leaders and members of the Legislature to enact these vital changes.”
This legislation proposes a number of updates to the National Guard’s enabling statute. It would increase the minimum daily pay for Soldiers and Airmen performing state active duty from $100 per day to $200 per day.
This would make the statewide minimum pay in Massachusetts the highest in the nation, ensuring appropriate compensation for members of the Guard, particularly benefiting those of junior rank. Another proposed change would modernize and streamline the law to clarify the delegation of authority by the Commander-in-Chief to The Adjutant General.
When Guard members are in federal service, they are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. However, there currently is no Code of Military Justice governing their conduct when Guard members are in state service. This makes Massachusetts one of only a handful of states that does not have a state Code of Military Justice, creating situations in which Guardsmen are treated inconsistently based on whether they are serving in a federal or state status.
The legislation is modeled on the American Bar Association’s ‘Model State Code of Military Justice. It establishes a series of military crimes that parallel those found in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It also establishes procedures for the convening and conduct of courts-martial. Courts-martial would be limited to the specific military offenses set forth in the legislation. Should a Guard member commit a non-military crime, that person would be prosecuted in state court by the appropriate District Attorney or the Attorney General, just as they are today.