Gov. Terry Branstad has established a pattern of governing that ignores the existence of 150 state lawmakers. When legislators complain, lawsuits allege an abuse of power, or Iowans die after being moved from a state home he closed, the governor is already focused on his next agenda item.
Without consulting lawmakers, Branstad shuttered the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo last year. He provided no clear plan for helping at-risk children going forward. His administration simply stopped accepting youth at the facility, moved out the ones living there and dismissed the state workers. The legal challenge to his actions was moot after the home was closed.
Though Iowa law specifies the state shall operate mental health institutes in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda, the governor unilaterally shut down those facilities, too. At least three former residents have died while a lawsuit against Branstad makes its way through the courts.