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Session can’t end until care of troubled kids is resolved

April 2, 2014
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Governor Branstad's abrupt decision to close the Iowa Juvenile Home created a number of problems. It is the Legislature's job to help solve those problems. The Senate has passed legislation on this issue. The House has not taken up that legislation. So we must settle these issues through the budget process, and I hope that Representative Fisher and Speaker Paulson will help us on that.

This is an important, difficult social issue. It may not affect very many people directly, but it matters a great deal to Iowa boys and girls in need of serious help, to their families and to their communities.

Here's our problem: We need information. We've asked for the information. We've haven't gotten a response. Specifically, we need to know what Governor Branstad and his administration have done, are doing and are planning with regard to this issue. We've heard nothing.

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On January 15, the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency sent a confidential request on the Legislature's behalf to the Iowa Department of Human Services. This LSA request asked for information about the Branstad administration's plans for the care of Iowa's most troubled young girls.

LSA, as you know, is the Legislature's information gathering agency. LSA is approved to handle all sorts of documents, including confidential materials. In fact, LSA can subpoena records, if legal action is required.

The Branstad Administration received the LSA request two and a half months ago. We've heard nothing back. We need this information to address a serious issue and the session won't end until we reach agreement.



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