Caylee’s Murder Inspires Proposed Pa. Laws
Within minutes of the Casey Anthony verdict, people across the nation impatiently awaited justice for her chubby cheeked toddler whom countless volunteers search for when she was reported missing in July 2008. For three years, Americans listened as this woman told countless lies in regard to the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee.

While photos, evidence and testimonies surfaced of this single mother partying and enjoying a child-free life after her daughter was murdered, millions of Americans watched as the jury acquitted her on all charges of murder, manslaughter and child abuse.

Twitter and Facebook lit up with calls for vigilante justice and proposals to revoke the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy, Headline News’ Nancy Grace went so far to nearly spit fire, proclaiming, “The devil is dancing tonight,” as Anthony was found not guilty in the death of her child. But while people were enraged and grieving over the verdict, Caylee was still dead.

Despite all of the differences on policy issues facing the state, there should be one mutual agreement: Pennsylvania needs to protect its youth.

Over the past couple of months, I am pleased to report that several child protection laws are being considered, or have passed, through the House.

Most recently, House Bills 1841 and 1842, together known as “Caylee’s Law,” passed through the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 1841 would increase the penalties for the crime of making false reports to police during a criminal investigation involving a child, while House Bill 1842 would strengthen the penalties for concealing the death of a child.

During and after the Casey Anthony trial, I was flooded with constituent emails urging stronger child protection laws to avoid more deaths like Caylee’s, or to ensure strict legal consequences for a perpetrator of child abuse. I am optimistic these laws will pass through the General Assembly because my colleagues on both political sides understand that Pennsylvania needs to send a strong message that those who commit crimes against children will face serious penalties for doing so.

Measures in House Bill 1841 would upgrade the offense of making false reports to police during a criminal investigation involving a child to a third-degree felony. It would also increase the maximum penalties to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The legislation ensures the law applies to a natural parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, guardian, a person responsible for the child’s welfare, including babysitters, teachers and coaches, any individual living in the same home as the child or a paramour of the child’s parent.

Similarly, measures under House Bill 1842 would make the same changes in the law regarding the crime of concealing the death of a child, whether it was born dead or alive or was murdered or not.

Regardless of how Caylee Anthony died, or who actually committed the acts, there is no reason why that innocent 2-year-old should have been missing for 31 days before being reported missing to the police. More so, however, there is absolutely no valid excuse why there was multiple stories given to police from Anthony regarding her daughter’s final whereabouts. I believe “Caylee’s Law” will put into place tough measures to protect the well-being of Pennsylvania’s children.

As one of Montgomery County’s voices in Harrisburg, I’ll continue to push for legislation which best serves the needs of my constituents. As these issues and legislative pieces progress in upcoming months, I’ll continue to keep my district informed.

State Representative Marcy Toepel
147th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Lauren Whetzel
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