After more than a year, a bill to modernize a decades-old military code of justice (House Bill 126) cleared a major hurdle Friday in the House Judiciary Committee.

The code applies to the Alaska National Guard and gives cover within the ranks to hold soldiers accountable in situations that might not constitute a civilian crime.

“We’ve never actually designated rules for the Guard that say you can’t do this and you can’t do that, and so forth — and this bill does that,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R), a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill was part of a bipartisan effort with the National Guard after a scandal that showed abuse and cover-up by higher-ups during former Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration.

“It gives the Guard a tool in which to get rid of people in the Guard who shouldn’t be there who have committed bad acts, without going through a cumbersome administrative procedure,” said LeDoux.

The bill will be sent for a vote on the House floor, which is expected to happen as early as next week.

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