The next time someone wins a $768 million Powerball jackpot in Wisconsin, the state’s top Republican wants to let them remain anonymous.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is teaming up with Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) to pitch what they call the Lottery Privacy Act.
“Winning the lottery often makes you a target of fraud, abuse and harassment,” Tauchen said in a statement Tuesday. “Winners often take steps of wearing costumes and other efforts to conceal their identity and protect their privacy.”
Wisconsin requires that lottery winners publicly claim their prize.
That’s what happened Tuesday when Manuel Franco stepped forward.
He’s the man who won a state record $768 million by matching all of the numbers in March 27th’s drawing.
Franco kept his identity secret for nearly a month. On Tuesday, he still refused to say where he works (or worked) and where he went to school.
Franco said his legal team told him to keep those details secret.
Vos said anyone who wins the lottery shouldn’t have to make those kind of choices.
“The government shouldn’t force lottery winners to come forward publicly if they don’t want to,” Vos said. “Just because you win the lottery, it shouldn’t mean you lose your right to privacy.”
The Lottery Privacy Act would stop the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, lottery managers, or the store that sold the winning ticket from naming the winner.
Though Vos and Tauchen said there would be some provisions to make sure the state collected on unpaid taxes, court judgments or child support first.
Vos said he hopes to formally introduce the legislation on the floor of the Assembly in the next few weeks.
Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for Watchdog.org. Reposted with permission.