The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled Iowa’s governor had the authority to close the state-run Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.
Two dozen Democrats in the state legislature and the president of the union that represented many of the workers at the two facilities filed the lawsuit challenging the closures. The state’s highest court has ruled Branstad “did not exceed the scope” of his authority as governor to shut down the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant and veto money legislators set aside to run the facilities.
The Mental Health Institutes in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant were closed on June 30, 2015. Two days later, Branstad used his item veto authority to reject funds legislators had set aside to keep the two institutes open. The legislators who sued argued state law set up the four state mental health institutes in Cherokee, Independent, Clarinda and Mount Pleasant and lawmakers had not voted to make the move to close two of them.
Critics say there’s a shortage of treatment options for Iowans suffering from acute mental illnesses and the closures have made the situation worse. Governor Branstad says the two state-run institutions were antiquated and less expensive care can be found at privately-run facilities.