Senator Michael Thibodeau, R-Waldo County, announced Monday, July 18 that he is submitting legislation that would penalize parents or other caregivers who fail to notify law enforcement officials of either the death or disappearance of a child, according to a press release from the Senate Republican Office.

Modeled after Caylee’s Law, a bill recently submitted in Florida’s legislature, Thibodeau’s proposal would require parents and primary caregivers to notify authorities if a child under the age of 12 is either missing or deceased. Under current Maine law, according to the press release, failure to report a child missing or dead is not a crime.

Caylee’s Law, named after 2-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony of Orlando, Fla., was initiated in Florida in response to the high-profile case involving Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony. Casey Anthony did not report her daughter’s disappearance until after 31 days had elapsed. Caylee’s remains were found five months later.

In a case that drew international attention, Casey Anthony was charged with the first-degree murder of her daughter, but was acquitted earlier this month.

“The safety and well-being of our children are paramount,” said Thibodeau, in the press release. “The sooner public safety officials are notified of a child’s disappearance, the sooner they can respond and this increases the likelihood of returning the child to safety.”

“In the tragic cases of murder or accidental death involving children,” Thibodeau continued, “timely reporting may lead to the elimination of the cause of danger for other children. My bill seeks to protect children by ensuring the timely reporting of these tragic events.”

Thibodeau is currently working on the details of the bill’s language, according to the press release, and is planning to have it ready for the Legislature’s upcoming session, scheduled to begin in January 2012.

Thibodeau, whose district encompasses all 26 Waldo County communities, serves as chairman of the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. He is also a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.