Caylee's Law continues moving through NC General Assembly - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Caylee's Law continues moving through NC General Assembly

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

State lawmakers will look closely at a bill Thursday aimed at holding parents and caregivers more accountable for reporting missing children.

Caylee's Law is an effort by states around the nation and has been in the works in North Carolina for about a year and a half as House Bill 149.

It's named after Caylee Anthony, whose Florida mother Casey Anthony failed to report her daughter missing for a month. Caylee's remains were later found. Her mother was found not guilty of murder, but was found guilty of lying to investigators.

"I think we all watched and waited to see what would happen in that case," said Jacqueline Schaffer, Republican representative from District 105 in south Mecklenburg County, who sponsored the bill.

Thursday the bill is expected to make its way into the Senate judiciary committee, a key step before lawmakers make another vote.

Lawmakers said the bill is in response to feedback from citizens.

"When this case was breaking. We had an inordinate amount of emails and calls. Not only did constituents and the public care, obviously members of this body care."

Anthony did not report her daughter Caylee missing for a month," said Kelly Hastings, Republican representative from District 110 in Cleveland and Gaston counties, who also sponsored the bill.

Schaffer said, "There was really very little to charge Casey Anthony or other people in that case."

The bill is aimed at preventing that from happening in North Carolina.

"If your kid is missing for 24 hours, you're going to have to notify law enforcement," she said.

It would be a felony offense and would apply not only to parents, but also other caregivers and people with a great deal of contact with the child.

"If you're a next door neighbor and you have a lot of contact with the child and suddenly that child's gone, missing, you're going to have some responsibility of, ‘Hey, this kid is gone and I need to do something about that.' But, if you're a next door neighbor who has no contact ever, you're not going to have that responsibility," Schaffer said.

While the lawmakers said there may be some concerns about people being implicated who should not be, they said there are safeguards

"There is a good faith provision in there, so if people are acting in good faith, most likely a prosecutor is not going to prosecute them," Hastings said.

Schaffer said, "The offense is triggered when the parent wantonly or knowingly does that. There's just that flagrant disregard for the child's safety."

Hastings said, "It is important to remember that we put those words in there, wantonly, to get at people who are intentionally concealing something about a child or interfering with an investigation about a missing child or an endangered child."

The sponsors said the bill has received unanimous bipartisan support.

"We've had no resistance. I think everyone has jumped on board," Schaffer said.

It has already passed in the House and the House judiciary committee.

"Going through a judiciary committee where there's a lot of attorneys, practicing and non-practicing, you know they're always looking at statutory interpretation and how the bill will read and if the bill is challenged, will it survive in court. So these are difficult bills. The ones that go through judiciary are especially difficult from a legal standpoint," Hastings said.

Once the Senate judiciary committee looks over the bill, it's expected to go to the Senate for a vote, Hastings said.

For more information about the bill, click here.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Marijuana group celebrates 4/20 with new Raleigh chapter

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:27:43 GMT
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, celebrated the unofficial weed holiday with some music in downtown Raleigh. The group re-opened a Raleigh chapter and it hopes to convince state lawmakers to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington in decriminalizing or even legalizing some pot possession.
    On this twentieth day of April, 4/20, some people in Raleigh are pushing for changes to the state's marijuana laws.The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, celebrated the unofficial weed holiday with some music in downtown Raleigh. The group re-opened a Raleigh chapter and it hopes to convince state lawmakers to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington in decriminalizing or even legalizing some pot possession.
  • McIntyre's retirement opens door for GOP in NC 7th

    McIntyre's retirement opens door for GOP in NC 7th

    Sunday, April 20 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-04-20 16:33:02 GMT
    Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre will retire after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district.Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre will retire after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district.
    With McIntyre announcing his retirement after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district, Rouzer is back on the ballo.    
    With McIntyre announcing his retirement after nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional district, Rouzer is back on the ballo.    
  • Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

    Hagan contrasts persona, GOP in NC Senate campaign

    Saturday, April 19 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-04-19 15:51:50 GMT
    Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election.
    Kay Hagan's self-identification as a middle-of-the-road U.S. senator who fights for the middle class, among other groups, and responds effectively to constituent requests may sound trite coming from any politician's mouth seeking re-election.
  • Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:07:16 GMT
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
  • 3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:29:23 GMT
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
  • Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:16 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:16:02 GMT
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.