When Illinois legislators pass new criminal laws, they're often reacting to a tragic event that's made the news. That's what happened this year with "Caylee's Law," which goes into effect tomorrow. People were riveted by the 2011 murder trial of Casey Anthony. Among the more salacious details of the case was the allegation that her two-year-old daughter Caylee had been missing for a month before police were notified. After a jury acquitted Casey Anthony, several Illinois lawmakers competed to make it illegal to NOT report the death or disappearance of one's child to the authorities. They called it Caylee's Law, and Democratic Representative Jack Franks, from Marengo, won the race. Here he is debating the measure earlier this year:
"Though it may seem untenable that any parent would fail to report their child's death, unfortunately it appears that we need a criminal law that requires it."
But critics say this is already covered by Illinois' obstruction of justice laws. Democratic Senator Bill Haine of Alton is a former state's attorney:
"This is a purely political act. And it will be forgotten in a fortnight after it passes."
Nevertheless, the measure was approved without a single lawmaker voting no.
Support Your Public Radio Station