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Iowa Juvenile Home bill fails; Fisher, Smith trade barbs

April 17, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Reopening of the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School in Toledo ended up not being part of an Iowa House Human Services appropriations bill sent to the Senate last week.

The portion of the bill offered by Rep. Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) concerning IJH would have provided about $5 million in funding.

The measure failed on a 51-48 "near party-line vote."

Article Photos

State Representatives Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) and Dean Fisher (R-Garwin)

"I'm terribly disappointed that House Republicans turned back an effort to do what's best for our young women and re-open the Iowa Juvenile Home," said Rep. Smith. "I'm going to keep working before we adjourn this year to open the facility in Toledo under a new structure and management.

"I'm stunned that Republicans believe it's ok to provide two maintenance workers at the facility without supporting the young women who need our assistance," Smith also said.

State Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Garwin) voted for the measure.

Fisher told The Chronicle in an email: "I supported the amendment to re-open the Iowa Juvenile Home because it had the potential to be the nucleus of a larger vision of what the Toledo facility can be in the future.

"As I've outlined in previous newsletters, I am working on that larger vision that can breath new life into the Toledo facility and help solve some of Iowa's shortage of beds for mental health services. I am working with the leadership in the House, Senate and the governor's office to forge that plan to serve the children, the community and the state.

"Unlike Rep. Smith, who has done nothing but make this issue political, I have worked behind the scenes to come up with real solutions that everyone can support.

"I also supported investing in two maintenance workers to keep up the IJH facilities to not only protect the taxpayers investment, but to also make sure the facility is ready to go when we do implement a plan to reopen it."



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