House Omnibus Data Practices Bill Makes Its Debut

Before moving to the House floor, two controversial articles were removed from the omnibus data practices bill.
(Published Mar 13, 2017)

Note: There is updated information on this topic. Read about the Senate omnibus data practices bill.

Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) introduced a delete-all amendment to HF 857 on March 9. This delete-all is the House omnibus data practices bill, and passed out of the House Civil Law & Data Practices Policy Committee. The omnibus bill will now go to the House floor.

The omnibus bill contained six articles:

  1. Corrections data—allowing data sharing within the Department of Corrections for case planning.
  2. Personnel data—classifying video, audio, and other recordings of government employees as generally public. This was deleted.
  3. Data practices denial requirements—requiring pinpoint citation when denying data practices requests. This was deleted.
  4. Electronic access data—making public the identity of government employees or independent contractors in electronic access data.
  5. Business data—including small business certification program data in business data statute.
  6. Legislative Commission study—requiring Commission on Data Practices to provide recommendations on greater public access to the Legislature.

Two articles deleted
Article 2 (personnel data) and Article 3 (data practices denial requirements) were deleted before the passage of the omnibus data practices bill.

Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), the author of article 2, recommended deleting this article to work on it more after the legislative session to address concerns. For more information about this article, see a previous Bulletin article.

Rep. Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen), the author of article 3, recommended deleting this article, with the intention of working on an amendment to add it back into the omnibus bill on the House floor.

Rep. Pugh wanted to prevent inadvertent disclosure of protected identities when providing specific statutory citation in denying data practices requests. For example, if a city were denying a request to provide the identity of an undercover officer, it would only need to cite the denial at the statutory level, Minnesota Statutes, section 13.82—consistent with current law. However, if no protected identities are involved, then a more specific citation would be required (e.g., if denial is based on trade secret information, the citation is to Minnesota Statutes, section 13.37, subdivision 1(b)—not just Minnesota Statutes, section 13.37).

Remaining articles of concern to cities
Article 4, originally authored by Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-Minneapolis), would amend the definition of “electronic access data” in the computer data statute, Minnesota Statutes, section 13.15. The intent is to have those who access electronic data be public data.

Article 6, originally authored by Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis), would require the Legislative Commission on Data Practices to conduct a study and make recommendations on increasing public access, participation, and accountability in the legislative process. This would include considering how the Legislature could be subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and the Open Meeting Law.

Senate companions
The Senate companion bills for each article are as follows:

However, there is no companion to the House omnibus data practices bill yet.

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