The Texas Legislature won't be meeting again for 18 months but state Sen. Chris Harris already has a bill in mind.
Harris, an Arlington Republican, announced plans today to file a bill in honor of Caylee Anthony, a Florida child who died in 2008. A jury ruled earlier this week that her mother, Casey Anthony, was not guilty of murdering her daughter.
Among the many aspects of the Casey Anthony case that turned the trial into a tabloid obsession was that Casey Anthony apparently waited weeks before reporting her daughter missing. Harris hopes in the next legislative session to make it a state felony for a parent or legal guardian to fail to report a child missing in a timely manner.
The bill is one that would likely be referred to the Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee which Harris currently chairs.
"This law will discourage behavior like that seen in the case of Casey Anthony," Harris said in a statement. "It is shocking that there is nothing in the Texas law that requires a parent to report a missing child. In a missing persons case, time is essential and every second counts."
Harris' spokesperson, Kristen Webb, said the senator plans to research the issue in the interim, including how to define "a timely manner" in the law.