Skip to main content
Anonymous lottery winner

HB 80, establishing a new exception to the open records law for the name, address, or likeness of the winner of a lottery prize that exceeds $1,000,000 for up to one year, sailed through the House Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations Committee on January 17.…

But the bill that unanimously passed out of committee -- with a barely discussed committee substitute -- significantly expands the scope and duration of the exception originally sponsored by Representatives Kim Banta and Daniel Fister in the current session.

Gone is HB 80 as we knew it. The original bill was, at worst, redundant/duplicative. It tracked identical protection in corresponding Lottery Corporation legislation. It arguably promoted a valid public purpose, shielding winners from unwelcomed intrusions in the one year period after luck smiled on them. Its impact, we reasoned, would be minimal, given the limited number of $1,000,000 lottery winners and one year duration of the protection.…

What emerged in committee this morning was a bill substitute that extends protection to "[t]he name, address, or likeness of the winner of a lottery prize if the prizewinner elects confidentiality" -- with no restriction on prize amount and duration.…

Any lottery winner -- however great or small their prize -- qualifies for the proposed law's protection in perpetuity. 

This is a far cry from Banta's original 2024 bill. It's an even farther cry her 2023 bill. In its original form, 2023 HB 70 would have created statutory protection for one year, and a new open records exception, for winners of a lottery prize that exceeded $7,000,000. That figure was reduced to $1,000,000 by committee sub. 2023's HB 70 passed in the House, but failed to pass in the Senate. 

For what it's worth, the Lottery Corporation already maintains the anonymity of prize winners who request that their names and likenesses not be disclosed. The impact of HB 80 -- which seems likely to become law in 2024 -- is to codify the Lottery Corporation's current practice and establish an exception to authorize denial -- KRS 61.878(1)(t) if you are counting -- in the event the Lottery Corporation receives an open records request.

This may be a flesh wound in the steady evisceration of the open records law -- the death by a thousand cuts to public agency transparency in each annual session. 

But our patience for recurring bait and switch bills that preclude meaningful observation of -- much less participation in -- the  legislative process, and that impede the public's ability to hold lawmakers accountable, is growing thin. 

And it's only week three of the long, long, interminably long legislative session.


Support Our Work

The Coalition needs your help in safeguarding Kentuckian's right to know about their government.