MONTGOMERY–Senate bills concerning reporting of a missing child by parents, combined into Senate Bill 38 passed the Senate on Tuesday.
The bills seek to make it a crime not to report a missing child.
Senator Priscilla Dunn (D-Bessemer) (sponsored bill SB 38 filed September 16, 2011), and Senator Brian Taylor (R-Prattville) (sponsored SB 65 filed February 7, 2012) presented bills modeled after Caylee’s law at the beginning of the session. An agreement was made to combine the bills into one, SB38, even though it was not the first filed.
The decision to combine was made in Senate Judiciary Committee in March based upon a statement made by Senator Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) that Dunn’s bill had been pre-filed before the session started and that Taylor’s bill had been filed at a later date.
“I want to thank Representative Givan and the House and Senator Dunn for all of their work on this bill and for working with me to get the very best bill that we can out of this body and down to the House,” said Taylor.
He said that the substitute provides that every parent has a duty to know where there child is and not to delay in reporting a missing child with reckless disregard for the child’s safety.
With regard to combining the bills, Taylor said, “We have made sure that no one is going to fall into a trap with prosecution. There has to be a reckless disregard for the child’s safety before the duty to report becomes effective. It’s something we all agree on. It’s a great bill. I hope we can get this down to the House today.”
Dunn said, “I am hoping that this bill will save many lives and I hope that parents will take notice of their children–where they are and be sure that they can be accountable for whatever happens in the household. So we hope that this is a bill that will really go well for families.”
The bill now moves to the House.