A committee held a hearing Wednesday on another Nebraska bill that would require a parent or guardian to report a child missing within 72 hours, but lawmakers took no action.
In South Dakota, a bill was approved overwhelmingly by the state Senate that gives parents 48 hours to report a missing child. State Attorney General Marty Jackley said the measure is needed because the state dealt with its own case last year in which a mother in Winner gave birth and left the baby to die in a bathroom. The woman was prosecuted for manslaughter and desertion of a child, Mr. Jackley said.
The South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers opposed the bill, saying it was too broad. The measure is set for a hearing this week in the House.
The Florida Legislature also is still considering a bill, but it has been changed to make it more narrowly focused on people who “knowingly and willingly” mislead police, resulting in the death of a child.
Some lawmakers say passing missing-child-reporting legislation is not the solution because in a case such as Caylee Anthony’s, a measure forcing requirements on parents wouldn’t have saved the girl. Iowa state Rep. Mary Wolfe, a Democrat, said the lesson with the Anthony murder trial was not that penalties should be enhanced for failing to report a missing child, but that prosecutors need to do a better job of building their cases.
“They didn’t have the evidence in that case,” Ms. Wolfe said.
Associated Press writers Grant Schulte in Lincoln, Neb., and Veronica Zaragovia in Pierre, S.D., contributed to this report.
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