- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Monday that it makes sense to wait for the findings of a special investigator before delving into allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct within the Alaska National Guard.

Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, said by text message that she believes there is merit in waiting to hear those findings first and then hold thorough hearings.

Gov. Bill Walker’s administration last month announced the hiring of retired state court judge Patricia Collins to investigate allegations of sexual abuse or harassment by National Guard members. A confidential report is due to Attorney General Craig Richards by April 30 and a proposed public version of the report is due by May 31. The legislative session is scheduled to end April 19.

Walker named retired U.S. Army Col. Laurie Hummel as Alaska’s new adjutant general on Friday.

McGuire said she plans this session to hear proposed legislation aimed at updating Alaska’s military code of justice and discuss the recommendations made by the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations in its report on the allegations last year.

She said some improvements may come out of those hearings ahead of Collins’ report.

She said what’s important to her is that the legislature responds in a way that reaffirms trust and morale within the guard.

Earlier Monday, Sen. Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, told reporters legislative involvement before the special investigator releases her findings could muddy the waters.

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