Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Branstad Veto Of Mental Health Institute Funding

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Gov. Terry Branstad (WHO-HD)

Gov. Terry Branstad (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa —  The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld Governor Branstad’s veto of funding for the state’s two mental health institutes.

In 2015 the Governor used his line item veto power to remove funding for the operation of mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. The hospitals were were shut down, employees laid off and patients transferred to other institutions around the state.

Danny Homan, president of the AFSCME union representing employees in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant, and 20 state legislators filed a lawsuit against the governor claiming he’d overstepped his legal authority by vetoing the funding. They argued that state law requires the state operate the two institutes and Governor Branstad is constitutionally bound to keep them open.

A district court sided with the governor, however, and today the Supreme Court did as well. In a unanimous ruling the justices say the governor is fully within his rights to veto funding from an appropriations bill as he did. Though this lead to the closure of the two institutes it does not mean the governor violated the portions of state law requiring their operation.