Bill Would Change Classification of Certain Mental Health Data Received by Law Enforcement

February 22, 2021

The bill would generally classify mental health data as private under the law enforcement data statutes, making it consistent with other sections of law.

HF 864 (Rep. Athena Hollins, DFL-St. Paul), a bill changing mental health data under the law enforcement data statutes, was heard in the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee on Feb. 16. A delete-all amendment was adopted, and the bill was laid over for possible inclusion into an omnibus data bill.

The Senate companion bill, SF 234 (Sen. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove), has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Specifics of the bill

The amended version of the bill classifies as private certain mental health data received by law enforcement from the welfare system, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 13.46, subdivision 7. The exception is if mental health data is criminal investigative data. It is then classified accordingly.

The following mental health data would be private:

  • Medications taken by an individual.
  • Mental illness diagnoses.
  • Psychological or psychosocial history of an individual.
  • Risk factors or potential triggers related to an individual’s mental health.
  • Mental health or social service providers serving an individual.
  • Data pertaining to the coordination of social service or mental health care on behalf of an individual.

Impetus for the bill

Rep. Hollins shared that this bill addresses how to handle data in co-responder or case management models when law enforcement and mental health units respond to mental health-related calls.

Mental health data is generally classified as private when social service agencies have this data, but when law enforcement has the same data (that is not criminal investigative data), the data is classified as public.

Minnesota Coalition on Government Information Board Member Matt Ehling and Cottage Grove Police Captain Randy McAlister have worked together to change this. McAlister said he hopes the Legislature can look at how mental health data could be shared across agencies to best serve individuals with mental health issues in the future.

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