Sometimes the work of the state legislature requires not just proposing ideas for new pieces of legislation, but also modifying existing laws. Some bills have good intentions and good results, but after they have been on the books for years, or in some cases decades, they become outdated and inefficient.

That was the case with Ohio’s Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ. The code was first approved in 1961 and many of its sections had not been amended or updated since then. Like with anything else that sits idle for more than a half-century, it was not current with the times.

In order to bring the UCMJ up to date, I sponsored House Bill 405, which makes a number of changes to the 142 sections contained within the code. After working closely with the Adjutant General’s office, which worked diligently for a couple years to update the code, we were able to present legislation to the Ohio House that makes positive alterations essentially makes it easier to read and understand.

After combing through the sections, we repealed or revised obsolete provisions and changed some of the language to help our National Guard meet the challenges of the 21st century. Meanwhile, HB 405 brought Ohio’s code more in line with the federal UCMJ and made other changes to modernize the law.

Among other changes, the bill transfers certain rulemaking militia powers from the governor to the adjutant general, creates the Court of Military Appeals and Procedures for making determinations on the appeals process and expands reemployment rights of nonteaching school employees who go on extended active military duty. It also extends the time for which military personnel can receive education for earning occupational licenses and allows them to qualify for temporary licenses to spouses who are on active military duty in Ohio.

Our military has evolved over the years and remains the strongest and bravest group of men and women in the world. I think it is appropriate that the policies that guide our military remain up to date as well.


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