Senate Bills Aim To Protect Children, Emergency Workers

State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz has introduced a bill (SB 2275) that makes it a felony for a parent or guardian who fails to report a missing child, age 12 or younger, to law enforcement within 48 hours.

The bill, referred to as Caylee’s Law, is named for Caylee Anthony, the Florida youngster whose disappearance became national news after her mother waited a month before reporting her missing.

“This bill focuses in protecting Hawaii’s keiki by ensuring that greater accountability and responsibility be placed on parents and guardians to report a missing child in a timely manner,” said Dela Cruz. “My office received a large number of emails requesting that something be done to prevent such future instances.”

SB 2275 also would require parents and guardians to report the death of a child or the location of the child’s corpse within two hours of discovery. Failure to do so would be a felony.

The bill is the second piece of legislation to be recently introduced within a week by the senator, who represents Kunia Village, Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, Whitmore, Haleiwa, Mokuleia, Waialua and Sunset Beach. (The first one is the “Move Over” measure that would require motorists to slow down and change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle.)

The misdemeanor charge for SB 2275 would increase to negligent homicide if the violation resulted in a fatality. Two Honolulu police officers were killed in the past four months alone after being struck by vehicles while responding to an emergency situation.