2 Abuse Cases, 2 Very Different Responses By Iowa Lawmakers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The death of a 16-year-old Iowa girl has led to finger-pointing at the Legislature and is an indication of how much has changed in the 17 years since the death of another child prompted a bipartisan inquiry.

Five months after the death of Natalie Finn, Republican lawmakers have been split over whether to investigate her treatment and Democrats have accused GOP leaders of being reluctant to take up the matter because of possible questions about state staffing.

The response was different after the January 2000 death of Shelby Duis, a 2-year-old from Spirit Lake. Her killing prompted then-Gov. Tom Vilsack to speak at a public hearing in Storm Lake, and the matter dominated that year’s legislative session.

Sen. David Johnson said both parties worked together in 2000 to improve the child welfare system.

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