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A bill that would help protect victims of child abuse was passed unanimously Thursday in the Oregon Senate.

The bill is named "Karly's Law" for Karly Sheehan, the Corvallis 3-year-old who was beaten to death in June 2005 by her mother's boyfriend, Shawn Field. Karly was the subject of a Department of Human Services Child Welfare investigation six months before she died, but the investigation concluded she was not the victim of abuse. In November 2006, Field was found guilty of torturing and killing Karly and is serving a life sentence.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, and its purpose is to tighten the requirements for investigating potential child-abuse victims.

Gelser thought the bill would come before the Senate on Friday, but the legislators got through their scheduled business more expeditiously than expected.

"I walked across and sat on the (Senate) floor and watched," Gelser said.

There was no debate on the bill. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives at the end of April in another unanimous vote, an extreme rarity.

Gelser said the bill would go back to the House next week for a couple of clarifying amendments. If it passes there, which she fully expects, it will go to Gov. Ted Kulongoski for his signature.

"I think this law is really going to help some kids," Gelser said.

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