Winners of large Arizona lottery jackpots would have their names kept secret for three months to give them time to prepare for their newfound wealth and shield their financial affairs under a bill the received a Senate committee’s initial approval Monday.

The bill by Republican Sen. John Kavanagh is a watered-down version of a bill he pushed in 2013 when he was in the House that would have kept winners' names secret forever. The bill failed in the Senate.

The Arizona Republic objected to the original bill. Attorneys for The Republic and Phoenix television station KPNX testified in 2013 that shielding winners' names would impair public accountability and the appearance of fairness by hindering the ability of the press and the public to monitor the Lottery's action.

KPNX’s lawyer, Ballard Spahr attorney Chris Moeser, said he opposed the revised bill, but said it was much better than the previous version. "This is an infinitely better bill than the one in 2013," Mr. Moeser said.

Mr. Moeser said he hopes the bill will be amended to give winners 45 or 60 days to get their affairs in order. He noted that winners already have 180 days to claim a prize, giving them plenty of time to prepare for their names to be made public.


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