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Lottery privacy bill advances in Legislature

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News4Jax
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The Florida House on Wednesday approved a proposal — sponsored by Rep. Tracie Davis of Jacksonville — that would give winners of big Florida lottery jackpots time to set up their finances before their names go public.

The House voted 114-1 to pass the measure (HB 159), which would create a public-records exemption for the names of people who win lottery prizes of $250,000 or more. Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, cast the only dissenting vote.

Davis, D-Jacksonville, pointed this week to people whose dreams “became nightmares” after they won the lottery games.

“Florida woman found guilty of murdering a multimillion-dollar lottery winner in Lakeland, Fla. Orlando lottery winner killed days after winning. Deltona trio arrested,” Davis said. “Lottery winners risk death and danger after going public. Seven charged in the killing of a Georgia lottery winner during a home invasion. Those are real headlines that we found as we were putting this bill together.”

The records exemption would last for 90 days, with the clock running from the time prizes are claimed. The $250,000 mark was set because prizes of that amount or more require winners to travel to lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.

The House passed a similar measure during the 2021 session, but the proposal stalled in the Senate. A Senate version this year (SB 170) has cleared two committees and awaits an appearance before the Rules Committee.