State Sen. Steve Gallardo opposes a bill that would allow state lottery winners to remain anonymous. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Matthew Goode won half the largest Powerball jackpot in history and prompted the bill by Fountain Hills Republican John Kavanaugh. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Those who hit the jackpot in Arizona pay a heavy price when it comes to their privacy, because their names are a matter of public record.
That's no different than a vast majority of states in the U.S.
But if House Bill 2082 makes it through the Arizona Senate, jackpot winners would be able to remain anonymous.
Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, is one of a minority of senators opposed to the measure.
"It is a state agency. They're dealing with public dollars, and the public has the right to know," Gallardo said.
He said just like any other government agency, the lottery is subject to public disclosure laws and said the issue comes down to transparency.
"When you start adding this level of secrecy, you start putting the doubts in taxpayers' minds," Gallardo said. "You start putting the doubts in those that really want to play the lottery that, is it truly an honest system? Is there really a winner?"
The legislation was authored by Rep. John Kavanaugh, R-Fountain Hills, and prompted by a resident of the 8th District he represents.
Matthew Goode of Fountain Hills struck it rich last November when he took home nearly $200 million as half of the largest Powerball jackpot in lottery history.
Goode wanted to remain anonymous at the time, but as it stands now, lottery winners in Arizona are a matter of public record and his name was soon released.
Gallardo said he believes that is a small price to pay for hitting it big.
"If you don't want to be in the public eye and you don't want to be scrutinized, don't play the lottery," Gallardo said.
But arguments over personal safety issues that come with sudden wealth are winning among state lawmakers.
The measure has already passed the Arizona House of Representatives, and will undergo a final vote in the Senate before it lands on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk for her signature.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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