- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House committee has approved a bill that would keep two state mental health facilities open longer.

The Appropriations Committee unanimously supported the bill Thursday. It would require the Department of Human Services to submit a transition plan to a new commission, which would have to give its approval before the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant could close.

The plan would include long-term care details for patients at the facilities.

The House committee added language requiring DHS to submit the plan within 60 days of the bill becoming law.

Gov. Terry Branstad backs closing the facilities, saying they’re outdated.

The facilities are scheduled to close within months. Some employees have already lost their jobs.

The Senate approved the bill in March. It next heads to the full House.

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