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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida House lawmaker to introduce 'Caylee's Law'

The bill from state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, would make it a felony for anyone who doesn't immediately report their children missing.

Hager says he plans to introduce the bill in the Florida House this week. Lawmakers couldn't approve such law until their next scheduled legislative session in January.

UPDATE: Apparently there is some competition among the Republican House caucus over this bill. A "Caylee's law" bill (HB 37) was filed this morning by Reps. Jose Felix Diaz of Miami and Scott Plakon of Longwood.

UPDATE II: The Florida Senate wants in, too. Here's a letter Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Greg Evers just sent to Senate President Mike Haridopolos:

"Dear President Haridopolos:

"In the days following the verdict of the Casey Anthony trial, I have received numerous emails from concerned citizens that Florida law was not adequate to protect the safety and welfare of our children.  While I respect the judicial process and the burden of proof that exists in such cases, I join my fellow Floridians in voicing concern about any inconsistencies or inadequacies in the law that could potentially lead to future issues such as this.  One of the greatest privileges afforded to us as Americans is the presumption of innocence and a trial by a jury of our peers, and while I would never have wanted to be in the shoes of those Pinellas county jurors, I do feel it is imperative that we explore this issue further and, as a body, discuss any necessary changes to Florida law.

"As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, I respectfully ask that you allow our committee to dedicate its first fall meeting to discuss any potential changes that can and should be made to our criminal and civil laws that protect our most vulnerable citizens.  At your direction, I am requesting to hold subsequent workshops on the issue, as necessary, to ensure the Senate takes a thoughtful and measured approach while avoiding potential unintended consequences.

"Thank you for your time and consideration in this important matter."

UPDATE III: State Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, said he'll propose a Caylee's Law, too.

[Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 7:00am]


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