By Michael Peltier
TALLAHASSEE, Fla (Reuters) - The Florida legislature on Thursday passed and sent to the governor a law intended to protect missing children that was prompted by the death of two-year-old Caylee Anthony and the acquittal of her mother, Casey, of murder charges.
The Florida state Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the measure that would make it a third degree felony to give false information to a law enforcement officer about a missing child.
The bill, dubbed "Caylee's law," already had passed the state House of Representatives and now will go to Governor Rick Scott for his signature.
The proposal responded to public outrage after Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder last year in a trial that received saturation media coverage and was followed by millions of Americans.
Anthony was charged with four counts of lying to police about Caylee and was sentenced to four years in prison, the maximum sentence for lying to police, which was a first degree misdemeanor. She was released last summer after time served.
Caylee went missing in 2008 and prosecutors said she was dead for a month before Casey Anthony told anyone. Prosecutors said Casey Anthony repeatedly lied to authorities about her daughter.
Had the bill been in effect, she could have faced up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for lying to police.
(Editing by Greg McCune)