AUGUSTA, Maine — The case of Caylee Anthony, the 2-year-old whose 2008 disappearance in Florida drew national attention, has prompted a push in Maine for legislation that would require prompt reporting of missing children.
Legislative leaders on Monday voted to consider a bill next year that would increase criminal penalties for failing to report a missing child within 24 hours.
“I had probably at least 50 e-mails from constituents asking me to submit this bill,” said its sponsor, Rep. Anna Blodgett. The Augusta Democrat said several other legislators also told her they support for the idea.
The July acquittal of Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, of killing her daughter shocked and outraged many people around the country. Casey Anthony did not report her daughter’s disappearance for a month and was arrested after lying repeatedly to police about the case.
Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008 near the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents.
Blodgett’s proposal was one of a half dozen addressing the Anthony case that were considered Monday by the Legislative Council, the 10 House and Senate leaders from both parties. Council must approve all nonemergency bills to be considered during the second year of a two-year session.
Blodgett said hers was admitted because it was the first of those prompted by the Anthony case to be submitted.
Of the nearly 300 proposals addressing a range of issues, fewer than half were allowed in for consideration in 2012. The proposals are not yet drafted so their details are not yet known.
Three seeking to reinstate Election Day voter registration were tabled. The issue is to be decided Nov. 8 by voters, who are being asked to repeal a law requiring registration at least two business days before an election. Passage would reinstate same-day registration.
Leaders admitted bills to suppress gang activity in the state, to take steps to increase the availability of natural gas, to make changes in the state sex-offender registry and to reduce open burning in neighborhoods.
Among the bills to be rejected were one to make the use of life vests mandatory in canoes and kayaks, to increase permit fees for pheasant hunting and provide funding for a feasibility study of an east-west highway.
Blodgett said her bill addressing missing children is “straightforward” and was inspired in small part by her granddaughter, whose name is Kaleigh.
“I think it was meant to be,” she said.