Arizona senate OKs giving lottery winners more privacy - East Valley Tribune: Business

Arizona senate OKs giving lottery winners more privacy

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Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 9:02 am | Updated: 3:49 pm, Tue Mar 26, 2013.

Those who pick or scratch it rich would get more privacy under the terms of legislation given preliminary approval Monday by the state Senate.

HB 2082 would alter laws on public records to spell out that those who win the state Lottery or the multi-state games run by the same agency need not disclose their names to the public. More to the point, it would bar state officials from disclosing anything more than the home town of those who suddenly find themselves in the money.

Lawmakers also took action on two other measures aimed at privacy.

The Senate Committee on Government and Environment approved HB 2469 to require state agencies that have data with personal information to encrypt that information. Such a move likely would make it more difficult for a hacker who has gained access to the computer to actually use what he or she finds.

The same panel also voted to update existing laws designed to protect the records of what people borrow from public libraries. HB 2165 extends that to e-books.

Both bills, which already have been approved by the House, now go to the full Senate.

That Senate voice vote on privacy for lottery winners came over the objection of Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.

He acknowledged that those who come into a great deal of money may find themselves being besieged by friend, long-lost relatives and others interested in donations and borrowing. But Gallardo argued that is not enough to overcome the presumption that the dealings of the Lottery should be public, if for no other reason than some public oversight to help ensure that the results are not rigged to favor relatives of Lottery employees.

He proposed a 10-day confidentiality "window,'' something Gallardo said would give a winner sufficient time to find a public relations agent or whatever to deal with the publicity.

But Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, said that's no solution at al.

"When people win the Lottery their lives are forever changed, mostly because of the notoriety that comes to them,'' he said.

"In 10 days, it doesn't give people enough time to sell their home and move some other place,'' Melvin continued. "In 10 days, excuse the expression, then all hell will break loose just like it would on the first day.''

But Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said all that ignores the fact that Lottery winners have up to 180 days to come forward to claim their winnings, the point at which a name becomes public. He said that gives them more than enough time to "get your life in order'' before the publicity onslaught.

The measure already has been approved by the House. It requires only a final roll-call vote in the Senate before going to the governor.

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