Give Boca Raton Rep. Bill Hager credit. After the Caylee Anthony verdict, the Republican sent out a press release saying he'd sponsor a Caylee's Law. So he got oodles of media attention.
But while Hager was courting the press with statements, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, and Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, were actually hitting the books and drafting legislation that would be called.... Caylee's Law.
"We have had this in progress for the past 48 hours," Diaz said. He said Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, will carry the bill in the Senate
As a result, HB 37 "Offenses Against Caregivers" by Diaz, Plakon and Rep. Jeanette Nunez appeared in this morning in the legislative system as the only Caylee's law. No mention of Hager or any other related bill in sight.
Here's the press release:
In the wake of Tuesday’s troubling and disheartening verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, which has shaken our nation and millions of others around the world, Representatives Jose Diaz (R-Miami) and Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) have immediately gone to work filing House Bill 37 entitled “Caylee’s Law.” Specifically, the legislation will more strongly protect innocent, vulnerable children and the interests of the state, in circumstances such as those arising in the Anthony trial, where a caregiver either:
• fails to make contact with or otherwise verify the whereabouts and safety of a child 12 years of age or under for a period of 48 hours, and to immediately thereafter report the child as missing;
• fails to report the death of a child or the location of a child’s body within 2 hours after becoming aware; or
• provides false information to a law enforcement officer to intentionally mislead or impede an investigation during the critical days, weeks, and months following a child’s disappearance, thereby thwarting the chances of either returning the child safely or recovering the child’s body before critical evidence has completely disintegrated
Despite the treasure trove of evidence that experienced prosecutors carefully presented to the jury, somehow this was not enough to render meaningful answers and justice for Caylee. Surely more will be learned in the coming weeks regarding what actually went through the minds of the jurors in reaching their decision, yet the need for reforms addressed by Caylee’s Law is already clear.
“While the process that produced the verdict must be respected, the deficiencies in our laws that have become apparent from this case should not be,” said Representative Diaz. “It is imperative that we act to defend our most vulnerable citizens by providing law enforcement with the tools necessary to successfully investigate, prosecute, and solve these crimes.”
“As lawmakers it is our duty to more carefully tailor a legal duty for caregivers to watch over and report children as missing,” said Representative Plakon. “Moreover, we must provide steeper