State Rep. Pat Outman, of Six Lakes, today introduced legislation to better protect people who win the lottery from potential danger or harassment.
House Bill 4218 would allow Michigan lottery winners of multi-state games such as Mega Millions, Powerball and Lucky for Life the option to remain anonymous. Current law permits the names of winners to be disclosed publicly and to the media, however disclosing such information with the public can cause immediate safety issues for the winner and his or her family.
Michigan is one of just a handful of states that does not permit lottery winners to choose to remain anonymous.
“This is all about providing safety and ensuring winners of these types of games do not receive unwanted, possibly dangerous attention,” Outman said. “The bill would allow those who win the lottery to have the choice to keep their identities anonymous. Allowing a privacy option gives people a more secure feeling and does not leave them open to harassment or a flood of requests for funds, loans or donations.”
Rep. Outman pointed out that the rise of social media in the last 10 years makes it all too easy to find out personal information about a lottery winner, leaving people vulnerable to scams and solicitation.
“Everyone who plays these types of lottery games hopes to win big and if it happens, it should be a time of celebration, not distress,” Outman said. “Several other states allow winners to remain anonymous, and, in my opinion, it’s time Michigan allow this option as well.”
Outman’s plan, HB 4218, was referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform for further consideration.
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Rep. Outman talks about his testimony Thursday before the House Oversight Committee on his HB 4388, part of a larger package targeting broader use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which does not currently apply to the Legislature or governor’s office.