David Heaton

David Heaton

Two Republican legislators from southern Iowa this afternoon announced they’ve reached a deal with Governor Branstad that will hopefully mean the state-run Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant will reopen next year under private management.

Since January, Branstad has repeatedly vowed to close what he calls “antiquated” facilities by June 30, but today it appears Branstad has agreed to temporarily keep parts of the facilities open through mid-December, with the goal of reopening both on January 1, 2016 under private ownership.

“I convinced the governor that our campuses needed to remain open to provide these vitally needed services that we had done so well in our community and that were much-needed,” says  Representative Dave Heaton, a Republican from Mount Pleasant.

Heaton says this proposal will be presented for a vote in the House next week.

“The governor’s agreed to take this plan,” Heaton says. “It’s not everything I think that we would want — all of us, both sides of the aisle on this issue, but I think this is the best thing that we can get.”

May 18 has been the target date for closure of the Mount Pleasant MHI and some furniture already has been removed from the facility. May 31 has been the target date for closing down the Clarinda MHI. Representative Cecil Dolecheck, a Republican from Mount Ayr, says this is a “solid agreement” with the governor and it means vital services for mentally ill Iowans will be available in southern Iowa.