by Clyde Weiss | March 19, 2012
All Iowans – especially the unemployed and those dedicated public service workers who are trying to help them get back on their feet – have won a constitutional victory over a governor’s unjustified, outrageous and now certifiably illegal abuse of his authority.
A unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling declares that Gov. Terry Branstad had violated the constitution of his state in a case that AFSCME Council 61 helped bring to the justices. The ruling backs Polk County Judge Brad McCall’s decision last December.
The case concerns the governor’s veto last July of portions of a budget bill that led to the shuttering of 36 unemployment offices throughout the state.
For the public service workers affected by the ruling, it means Governor Branstad cannot unilaterally shut down the unemployment offices. The high court’s unanimous decision “confirms that the governor can’t veto the will of the people of Iowa,” said Danny Homan, AFSCME Iowa Council 61, also an AFSCME International vice president.
Governor Branstad ran afoul of the constitution by striking down a policy to keep the unemployment offices open, but leaving intact the $3.5 million that the state Legislature had allocated to operate them.
The state’s highest court agreed with McCall’s earlier ruling that the governor would have had to veto the entire clause to make his action constitutional. “Simply stated,” the high court said, “the Legislature appropriated funds to (Iowa Workforce Development) with strings attached and our constitution does not permit the governor to cut the strings and spend the money differently.”
Read more about the state Supreme Court ruling in the Des Moines Register.