Data Practices Legislative Commission Adopts Recommendations for 2018

The advisory body made recommendations regarding two areas of city data and one area of court data.
(Published Feb 5, 2018)

The Legislative Commission on Data Practices, chaired by Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover), met on Jan. 22 to adopt recommendations for the 2018 legislative session. This advisory body suggested three data practices-related areas for the Legislature to focus on for 2018.

Public video/audio personnel data
Last legislative session, the House Civil Law & Data Practices Committee heard a bill (HF 1316, Rep. John Lesch, D-St. Paul) that would reclassify recorded data as public. This includes any video, audio, or other recordings of government employees, independent contractors, or volunteers.

The bill was in response to the Minnesota Supreme Court decision in KSTP-TV v. Metropolitan Council, 884 N.W.2d 342 (Minn. 2016), which resulted in a complicated data practices decision that, though the video data was collected as government data and considered public, the video data was maintained only as personnel data at the time of the data practices request and therefore private.

The Legislative Commission recommended classifying as public data the recording of government personnel data, unless the recording is classified as not public under another statute. The League opposed the bill as it was drafted, but has worked and will continue working with Rep. Lesch and other stakeholders to address city concerns.

Revised automated license plate reader audits
Independent audits for automated license plate readers were due in 2017. Cities are required to send reports summarizing the results of the audit to the commissioner of Administration and the Data Practices Legislative Commission within 30 days of the audit completion.

The Legislative Commission was unsatisfied with the depth of information provided and recommended that the Legislature:

  • Clarify what constitutes an “independent” audit to prohibit a law enforcement agency from auditing itself or being audited by another division of its political subdivision.
  • Clarify applicable deadlines for completing the biennial audit.
  • Clarify what must be included in the audit report, including relevant information contained in the log-of-use requirement of current law.
  • Require “detail” instead of “summary” of the audit report.
  • Clarify when a law enforcement agency must notify the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that it has begun using automated license plate readers.
  • Add a requirement for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to publish the date agencies give notice that they start using automated license plate readers.

Location tracking warrants disclosure
Current law requires courts to unseal location tracking warrants for mobile devices after 90 days, but another state statute requires warrants for wire, electronic, or oral communications remain sealed unless a court order has been issued. The Legislative Commission recommends clarification to ensure that tracking warrants be made public.

Other topics discussed in the interim
The Data Practices Legislative Commission also discussed many other topics this last fall and winter, including records management (HF 1185), classifying the identity of those who access electronic data public, other law enforcement technologies, etc. These topics were not included in the Data Practices Legislative Commission’s recommendations.

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