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'Caylee's Law' Proposed in FL, NY, OK, WV

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 08, 2011 11:50 AM

Just days after Casey Anthony was acquitted of all charges arising out of her daughter's death, lawmakers in Florida, New York, Oklahoma, and West Virginia have vowed to propose new legislation, known as "Caylee's Law."

Born out of an online petition that has gathered over 300,000 signatures, Caylee's Law is an attempt to criminalize the actions of parents and guardians who fail to promptly report missing children, or who do not alert authorities of their child's death.

Whether you think Casey Anthony murdered Caylee, or had something to do with her accidental death, it's indisputable that a report regarding the child's situation should have immediately been made to local police.

However, like many states, Florida does not require residents to report missing children or deaths.

In response, those who signed the Caylee's Law petition advocate making it a felony for parents and guardians not to report a child's death within 1 hour, as well criminalizes those who do not report a child missing within 24 hours, reports USA Today.

While this seems like legislation worth supporting, not reporting a missing child already falls under child abuse as neglect and placing a child in harm's way. And there is some legal responsibility to report a death to the government.

But, as Florida Rep. Bill Hager told ABC News, Caylee's Law isn't about deterring criminal behavior. It's about giving prosecutors another tool to go after irresponsible parents, particularly in situations where they hide a death or disappearance, but there is scant evidence of criminal behavior.

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