Two Tennessee lawmakers announced Monday they are filing a bill to make it a punishable crime when parents or guardians fail to timely notify authorities when a child under their care is missing.
The bill was filled by State Sen. Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere) and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley).
"As Tennessee lawmakers, we cannot do anything to change the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial in Florida, but we can and should strengthen our laws here in Tennessee," Stewart said in a news release. "If a child is missing, the authorities should be notified immediately, not one day or 30 days later."
The bill, known as "Caylee's Law," after Orlando, Fla., 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, who died in 2008.
The law would require that authorities be notified as soon as a parent or guardian has reason to believe that a child within their custody or care has gone missing. Currently, Tennessee law requires parents to report such information, but does not provide any means for enforcement.
The bill would constitute a misdemeanor. In situations in which bodily injury or death of the child resulted, the crime would be elevated to a felony.
Stewart and Fitzhugh said they are speaking with district attorneys and legislative lawyers to determine reporting timeline requirements that could vary based on the age of the child.
Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said Tuesday he will be the Senate sponsor for the bill.