Lotto winners one drawing ball closer to scoring big on anonymity

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Those who win a quarter million could keep their name anonymous for 90 days.

Legislation is moving in both the House and Senate to protect lottery winners from the wealth of unintended consequences for hitting the jackpot.

A measure to protect lotto winners by keeping them anonymous immediately after winning big (SB 170) passed its first Senate panel Tuesday.

Boca Raton Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky again filed a measure for the coming Session after an unsuccessful bid this spring. She was absent during Tuesday’s Senate Regulated Industries Committee meeting, but Minority Leader Lauren Book was there to shepherd it through with a successful unanimous vote.

“I think all of us can dream about winning the big lottery and about how exciting that might be, but unfortunately for some people, that dream becomes a nightmare,” Book said. “These winners endure all types of scams, harassment and even loss of life.”

The address and phone number of winners are already confidential, according to Florida Statute. The proposal would allow those who win $250,000 or more to keep their names confidential for 90 days, though they would be allowed to waive that right also.

“This exemption thoughtfully and properly balances the privacy concerns of lottery winners and the public’s right to know,” Book said, replaying a statement from the First Amendment Foundation.

With Polsky absent, it fell on Book to pick up the hazing from committee members.

“When was the last time you won $500,000 from the lottery?” asked Sen. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat.

Polsky’s version still has two more committees to clear, the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee and the Rules Committee.

Jacksonville Democratic Rep. Tracie Davis filed the identical House version (HB 159), which passed its first of two panels by a 14-1 vote last month. It awaits a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee.

The proposal would take effect immediately upon becoming law. However, without lawmakers re-upping it, the legislation would sunset in October 2027.

If the measures hit the full chambers, they face a higher threshold vote than a simple majority for passage. The bills require a two-thirds vote among members on hand because it would create a new public record exemption.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

One comment

  • Ronald Stagger Lee Book's wrecked Lambo

    November 7, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    Lauren Book only truly cares about the rich, just like her crooked daddy.

Comments are closed.


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