Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, proposed legislation today to create a new public records exemption for identifying information about anyone who wins $600 or more in the state lottery; the winner could only be named if he or she submits written authorization. “This concern was brought ot me by an elderly constituent who had a lucky day with the lottery, and suddenly was inundated from all over the world with all types of solicitation and harassment, phone calls, you name it,” Luker told the House State Affairs Committee this morning. “As I looked into it, it’s not unique.” He cited a news report about a big Michigan lottery winner last year going into hiding. “So there’s concern out there,” Luker said.
Currently, the identification of lottery prize winners is a public record in Idaho. Luker said winners of $600 or more are handled by the lottery, while smaller prizes are processed through vendors; that’s why he set the threshold at $600.
Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, asked, “In the case of someone who’s received public benefits, those can be recouped from lottery winnings. Does this bill affect that at all?” Luker said no. “There’s a specific provision in there that state agencies can share information, what they need to take care of business that way,” he said.
Rep. Randy Armstrong, R-Inkom, asked, “Has the Lottery Commission itself weighed in on this? I know they like to have pictures, smiling faces of people who have won.”
Luker said he’d been in touch with Lottery Director Jeff Anderson about how to draft the bill. “I don’t know what their position is,” Luker said. “I assume if there’s an issue, they’ll weigh in at our hearing.”
The committee then voted unanimously to introduce Luker’s bill, clearing the way for a full hearing.