GavelA judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Governor Terry Branstad by the state’s largest public employees union and 20 legislative Democrats. The lawsuit was filed after Branstad vetoed funding approved by the legislature that would have kept two of the state’s Mental Health Institutes open.

The MHIs in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda were shut down this summer. Branstad called the facilities “antiquated” and said modern mental health care is best delivered locally, in-home or in community-based settings.

Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61, said the action the governor took to close the two MHIs was illegal. But, a Polk County judge has ruled Branstad had the authority to veto financial support for such facilities and backed a request by state attorneys to throw out the lawsuit.

The attorney representing AFSCME and the lawmakers plans to appeal the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court.