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GOP leaders not planning oversight of Iowa care center

-AP photo
Iowa Senate President Charles Schneider, left, speaks during The Associated Press’ annual Iowa legislative seminar Tuesday at the Statehouse in Des Moines.

By DAVID PITT

Associated Press

DES MOINES — Iowa Republican legislative leaders said Tuesday they don’t plan to convene an oversight committee meeting to discuss problems at an Iowa care center for people with intellectual disabilities until they know more.

Incoming House Speaker Pat Grassley said lawmakers are waiting to hear results of a U.S. Department of Justice and state investigation into Glenwood Resource Center issues before acting.

Grassley, speaking at a legislative forum hosted by The Associated Press, said last year House leaders were told by the former Iowa Department of Human Services director there was no need for an investigation. Senate President Charles Schneider said Gov. Kim Reynolds and her newly appointed DHS Director Kelly Garcia appear to be handling the situation.

Reynolds said Tuesday she’s confident the DHS is handling issues appropriately with outside doctors checking on the welfare of patients and teams evaluating procedures.

Senate Democratic leader Janet Petersen said Democrats sought an oversight investigation last year but Republicans refused.

“I don’t know what the point of having a government oversight committee is if the committee is not willing to meet,” she said.

The federal investigation announced in November appears to focus in part on whether the state has violated the federal rights of residents by placing them at risk with experiments that include sexual arousal research. The Glenwood center cares for about 250 people.

The superintendent was fired a week ago. An interim director is now in charge.