In response to the death of two-year-old Caylee Anthony, a special Senate committee on Thursday proposed legislation to boost penalties for those who purposely mislead police about a missing child who later turns up seriously harmed or dead, reports the News Service of Florida. Following sometimes emotional testimony at earlier meetings, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Protecting Florida’s Children proposed boosting the penalty for lying to law enforcement officers from a misdemeanor to a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, would provide the enhanced penalties in cases in which the child was 16 years old or younger. The proposal, to be filed shortly, is the latest in a series of bills offered following the July acquittal of Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, 22 at the time of Caylee’s death. Though lawmakers cannot prevent a child from being abused, Negron said they can assure that there are consequences for such behavior. “We’re making a clear statement that every parent has an obligation to cooperate with law enforcement when their child goes missing,” he said. Other bills are circulating, including a measure, HB 37, by Rep. Jose Diaz, R-Miami, that would require caregivers to notify police within 48 hours of a child’s disappearance.
Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.