VETO RULING: Branstad’s Veto Unconstitutional

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The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled in a lawsuit against Gov. Terry Branstad for a line item veto that closed Iowa Workforce Development offices across the state.

The court ruled Branstad’s veto, which struck the definition of “field office” from the legislation, was unconstitutional. The veto allowed the state to close 36 Iowa Workforce Development offices and use the money in other ways.

Part of the money was used to open electronic kiosks and computer workstations that were not manned by IWD employees.

In the unanimous ruling, Justice Thomas Waterman wrote, “Simply stated, the legislature appropriated funds to IWD with strings attached, and our constitution does not permit the Governor the cut the string sand spend the money differently.”

Senate Democrats are calling this a victory for Iowans seeking jobs. Sen. Daryl Beall was a plaintiff in the lawsuit and says, ““It was a mistake to close dozens of local workforce offices during a severe economic recession and when returning soldiers are looking for work. Let’s work together to fix that mistake.”

Though the Supreme Court agreed with a district court’s earlier decision that the veto was unconstitutional, it did remand parts of the legislation for further action. That means appropriations still need to be dealt with.

Danny Homan, head of the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 and one of the plaintiffs in the case said, “Now it is time to be responsible and act in the best interests of all Iowans. We hope that the governor will act appropriately and immediately begin working with the legislature in a bipartisan manner to restore these budgets and find solutions.”

Spokesman for Gov. Branstad, Tim Albrecht issued a statement saying “What started as an attempt by Danny Homan to prevent the implementation of a new, streamlined service delivery system that has proven to serve Iowans even better has now, as a result of Homan’s lawsuit, put at risk all of the services our state provides to unemployed Iowans and hundreds of state workers’ jobs.”

Gov. Branstad filed a motion with the Iowa Supreme Court Friday afternoon to temporarily stay the decision until the funding issues in the IWD affected by the ruling can be resolved.

Read the entire judgement here.

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