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crimesider

"Caylee's Law" legislation stalled in Iowa, other states

Casey Anthony is seen here with daughter Caylee in an undated personal photo.
Personal Photo
Casey Anthony, 25, seen with 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
Personal Photo

(CBS/AP) DES MOINES, Iowa - Lawmakers around the country who were under pressure from constituents in the months following the Casey Anthony trial have found that it's not easy to toughen penalties for parents who don't immediately report missing children.

Pictures: Casey and Caylee Anthony, Personal Photos

Seventeen states have tried to pass "Caylee's Law" legislation - named after Anthony's 2-year-old daughter whose 2008 disappearance was not reported for over a month. However, many of these efforts have failed or stalled over concerns that proposed changes were too broad, and in some cases, not necessary. 

Iowa is the latest state to face difficulty trying to strengthen penalties involving how and when parents report missing children. On Wednesday, lawmakers rejected a bill that would have required parents to know their children were safe in any 24-hour period.

The Iowa legislative panel rejected the proposed law after some questioned whether it was too vague. Lobbyist Marty Ryan speculated that it would require parents to check in daily with children sent to summer camp.

Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, who co-sponsored the Iowa bill, acknowledged the measure needed work. "We clearly are moving too fast on this," said Kaufmann, R-Wilton.

Some lawmakers say passing missing child reporting legislation is not the solution. Iowa Rep. Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, 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.