Governor Culver is pledging swift legislative action to change Iowa laws in order to prevent future workplace abuse of dependent adults with mental retardation. The governor spoke Friday before the task force he established after learning 21 mentally retarded men were living in a rundown boarding house in eastern Iowa while working for little pay at a nearby turkey plant.
Culver blames the state for the situation. “For too many years, every level of government made mistakes. Simply put, for more than three decades the bureaucracy failed these men,” Culver says.
The governor says he’ll ask the legislature to act before the end of this session on recommendations coming from the task force. “The steps we must take are not easy but they are worth it. We have the opportunity before us to fix a problem which has been untouched for too long,” Culver says.
So far recommendations include having the Department of Inspections and Appeals monitor and regulate all types of boarding houses in the state. The group’s full report is due April 1st.