PHOENIX - A trio of bills aimed at protecting the privacy of Arizonans' reading habits, their gambling gains and government records about them moved a step closer to being approved Monday.
The Senate gave preliminary approval to HB 2082, which would alter public records laws to keep the names of those who win the state Lottery or the multistate games run by the same agency secret. It would bar state officials from disclosing anything more than the hometown of those who suddenly find themselves in the money.
The Senate Committee on Government and Environment also approved HB 2469 to require state agencies that have data with personal information to encrypt that information to make it more difficult for a hacker to actually use what he or she finds.
The same panel also voted to update existing laws prohibiting disclosure of what people borrow from public libraries. HB 2165 extends that to e-books.
The Senate voice vote on privacy for lottery winners came over the objection of Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.
He acknowledged those who come into a great deal of money may find themselves being besieged by friend, long-lost relatives and others. But Gallardo argued that is not enough to overcome the presumption the dealings of the Lottery should be subject to public oversight to help ensure that the results are not rigged to favor relatives of Lottery employees.
He proposed a 10-day confidentiality "window," to give winners time to make arrangements to protect themselves.
But Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, said that's no solution.
'When people win the Lottery their lives are forever changed, mostly because of the notoriety that comes to them," he said.
"In 10 days, excuse the expression, then all hell will break loose just like it would on the first day," Melvin said.
Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said all that ignores the fact Lottery winners have up to 180 days to come forward to claim their winnings, which he said gives them more than enough time to "get your life in order" before the publicity onslaught.
The lottery measure already has been approved by the House. It requires only a final roll-call vote in the Senate before going to the governor. The other two, which were also approved by the House, still have to go to the full Senate.