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Governor Baker Signs Bill To Increase Pay For National Guard, Implement Modern Military Justice System

BOSTON – Joined by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Massachusetts National Guard Major General Gary Keefe, National Guard Command Staff and Representative Harold Naughton, Governor Charlie Baker participated in a ceremonial bill signing for An Act establishing the Massachusetts Code of Military Justice which modernizes and streamlines parts of the National Guard’s enabling statute, including the creation of a Uniform Code of Military Justice to be consistent with the American Bar Association’s ‘Model State Code of Military Justice and most other states, and an increase to the minimum daily pay for soldiers and airmen performing state active duty. The Baker-Polito first proposed the legislation in December 2017.
“The brave men and women of the Massachusetts National Guard are routinely called upon to provide critical support during highly difficult situations in the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Governor Baker. “We are proud to sign this bill to provide appropriate pay increases for members and their families, while also modernizing our military justice system to be consistent with national best practices and many other states.”
“It is an honor to celebrate legislation that makes it easier for Massachusetts’ service members in the National Guard to perform their duties with less of a financial burden and enables them to succeed by modernizing our laws,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We are thankful to the Massachusetts National Guard for always answering the call and are proud of their service.”
“The bill establishes a much needed state military code to modernize our force,” said Major General Gary W. Keefe, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “The Massachusetts Code of Military Justice is a product of more than 15 years of collective work between the National Guard Bureau, American Bar Association and the Massachusetts National Guard,” said Keefe. “It mirrors the Federal Uniform Code of Military Justice and will impart good order and discipline among our Soldiers and Airmen to ensure mission success.”
“This Massachusetts Military Code of Justice bill gives our National Guard the tools it needs to protect our personnel and to ensure good order and discipline when our soldiers and airmen are on duty in the Commonwealth or throughout the United States, just as the Uniform Code of Military Justice has long provided these guarantees when they are deployed overseas,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas Turco. “In addition, by doubling the minimum daily pay Massachusetts now offers the highest minimum pay in the nation, which is particularly important for our junior enlisted soldiers.”
“This bill makes necessary updates to the National Guard’s enabling statute to help them continue to fulfill its mission with the highest of standards,” said State Senator Mike Rush, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and my colleagues in the legislature for recognizing the important work our National Guard members undertake in support of our security and the preservation of life and property.”
“This legislation represents the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting our nation’s oldest military unit and those who place themselves in harm’s way for the defense of all,” said Representative Harold Naughton. “In enacting this law, we are ensuring that the Guard will be able to continue to carry out its mission of preserving life, liberty and property in the Commonwealth and throughout the United States. This law will ensure that members of our Guard will be treated equally no matter where they serve and ensure our state is in step with the rest of the country. I would like to thank the Speaker for his efforts to ensure this bill’s passage before the end of session and to thank Governor Baker for his tremendous leadership on this issue.”
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