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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1399

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 02/21/2019 05:25pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to corrections; reestablishing the ombudsman for corrections; establishing
the powers and duties of the ombudsman; requiring a report; appropriating money;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, sections 15A.0815, subdivision 3; 243.48,
subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 241.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 15A.0815, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Group II salary limits.

The salary for a position listed in this subdivision shall
not exceed 120 percent of the salary of the governor. This limit must be adjusted annually
on January 1. The new limit must equal the limit for the prior year increased by the percentage
increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers from October of the
second prior year to October of the immediately prior year. The commissioner of management
and budget must publish the limit on the department's website. This subdivision applies to
the following positions:

Executive director of Gambling Control Board;

Commissioner of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation;

Commissioner, Bureau of Mediation Services;

Ombudsman for mental health and developmental disabilities;

new text begin Ombudsman for corrections;
new text end

Chair, Metropolitan Council;

School trust lands director;

Executive director of pari-mutuel racing; and

Commissioner, Public Utilities Commission.

Sec. 2.

new text begin [241.90] OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN; CREATION; QUALIFICATIONS;
FUNCTION.
new text end

new text begin The Office of Ombudsman for the Department of Corrections is hereby created. The
ombudsman shall serve at the pleasure of the governor in the unclassified service, shall be
selected without regard to political affiliation, and shall be a person highly competent and
qualified to analyze questions of law, administration, and public policy. No person may
serve as ombudsman while holding any other public office. The ombudsman for corrections
shall be accountable to the governor and shall have the authority to investigate decisions,
acts, and other matters of the Department of Corrections so as to promote the highest
attainable standards of competence, efficiency, and justice in the administration of
corrections.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [241.91] DEFINITION.
new text end

new text begin For the purposes of sections 241.90 to 241.95, "administrative agency" or "agency"
means any division, official, or employee of the Department of Corrections, the commissioner
of corrections, the Board of Pardons, and any regional or local correctional facility licensed
or inspected by the commissioner of corrections, whether public or private, established and
operated for the detention and confinement of adults or juveniles, including but not limited
to programs or facilities operating under chapter 401, adult halfway homes, group foster
homes, secure juvenile detention facilities, juvenile residential facilities, municipal holding
facilities, juvenile temporary holdover facilities, regional or local jails, lockups, work houses,
work farms, and detention and treatment facilities, but does not include:
new text end

new text begin (1) any court or judge;
new text end

new text begin (2) any member of the senate or house of representatives of the state;
new text end

new text begin (3) the governor or the governor's personal staff;
new text end

new text begin (4) any instrumentality of the federal government; or
new text end

new text begin (5) any interstate compact.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [241.92] ORGANIZATION OF OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Employee selection. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may select, appoint, and compensate
out of available funds assistants and employees as deemed necessary to discharge
responsibilities. The ombudsman and full-time staff shall be members of the Minnesota
State Retirement Association.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Assistant ombudsman. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may appoint an assistant ombudsman
in the unclassified service.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Delegation of duties. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may delegate to staff members any of
the ombudsman's authority or duties except the duty of formally making recommendations
to an administrative agency or reports to the Office of the Governor or to the legislature.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [241.93] POWERS OF OMBUDSMAN; INVESTIGATIONS; ACTION ON
COMPLAINTS; RECOMMENDATIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Powers. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may:
new text end

new text begin (1) prescribe the methods by which complaints are to be made, reviewed, and acted
upon; provided, however, that the ombudsman may not levy a complaint fee;
new text end

new text begin (2) determine the scope and manner of investigations to be made;
new text end

new text begin (3) except as otherwise provided, determine the form, frequency, and distribution of
conclusions, recommendations, and proposals; provided, however, that the governor or a
representative may, at any time the governor deems necessary, request and receive
information from the ombudsman. Neither the ombudsman nor any member of the
ombudsman's staff shall be compelled to testify or to produce evidence in any judicial or
administrative proceeding with respect to any matter involving the exercise of the
ombudsman's official duties except as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of sections
241.90 to 241.95;
new text end

new text begin (4) investigate, upon a complaint or upon personal initiative, any action of an
administrative agency;
new text end

new text begin (5) request and be given access to information in the possession of an administrative
agency deemed necessary for the discharge of responsibilities;
new text end

new text begin (6) examine the records and documents of an administrative agency;
new text end

new text begin (7) enter and inspect, at any time, premises within the control of an administrative agency;
new text end

new text begin (8) subpoena any person to appear, give testimony, or produce documentary or other
evidence that the ombudsman deems relevant to a matter under inquiry, and may petition
the appropriate state court to seek enforcement with the subpoena; provided, however, that
any witness at a hearing or before an investigation shall possess the same privileges reserved
to a witness in the courts or under the laws of this state;
new text end

new text begin (9) bring an action in an appropriate state court to provide the operation of the powers
provided in this subdivision. The ombudsman may use the services of legal assistance to
Minnesota prisoners for legal counsel. The provisions of sections 241.90 to 241.95 are in
addition to other provisions of law under which any remedy or right of appeal or objection
is provided for any person, or any procedure provided for inquiry or investigation concerning
any matter. Nothing in sections 241.90 to 241.95 shall be construed to limit or affect any
other remedy or right of appeal or objection nor shall it be deemed part of an exclusionary
process; and
new text end

new text begin (10) be present at commissioner of corrections parole, supervised release, and parole
revocation hearings and deliberations.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Actions against ombudsman. new text end

new text begin No proceeding or civil action except removal
from office or a proceeding brought pursuant to chapter 13 shall be commenced against the
ombudsman for actions taken under the provisions of sections 241.90 to 241.95, unless the
act or omission is actuated by malice or is grossly negligent.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Matters appropriate for investigation. new text end

new text begin (a) In selecting matters for attention,
the ombudsman should particularly address actions of an administrative agency that may
be:
new text end

new text begin (1) contrary to law or rule;
new text end

new text begin (2) unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, or inconsistent with any policy or judgment of an
administrative agency;
new text end

new text begin (3) mistaken in law or arbitrary in the ascertainment of facts;
new text end

new text begin (4) unclear or inadequately explained when reasons should have been revealed; or
new text end

new text begin (5) inefficiently performed.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ombudsman may also be concerned with strengthening procedures and practices
that lessen the risk that objectionable actions of the administrative agency will occur.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Complaints. new text end

new text begin (a) The ombudsman may receive a complaint from any source
concerning an action of an administrative agency. The ombudsman may, on personal motion
or at the request of another, investigate any action of an administrative agency.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ombudsman may exercise powers without regard to the finality of any action of
an administrative agency; however, the ombudsman may require a complainant to pursue
other remedies or channels of complaint open to the complainant before accepting or
investigating the complaint.
new text end

new text begin (c) After completing investigation of a complaint, the ombudsman shall inform the
complainant, the administrative agency, and the official or employee of the action taken.
new text end

new text begin (d) A letter to the ombudsman from a person in an institution under the control of an
administrative agency shall be forwarded immediately and unopened to the ombudsman's
office. A reply from the ombudsman to the person shall be promptly delivered unopened
to the person after its receipt by the institution.
new text end

new text begin (e) No complainant shall be punished nor shall the general condition of the complainant's
confinement or treatment be unfavorably altered as a result of the complainant having made
a complaint to the ombudsman.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Investigation of adult local jails and detention facilities. new text end

new text begin Either the
ombudsman or the jail inspection unit of the Department of Corrections may investigate
complaints involving local adult jails and detention facilities. The ombudsman and
Department of Corrections must enter into an arrangement with one another that ensures
that they are not duplicating services.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Recommendations. new text end

new text begin (a) If, after duly considering a complaint and whatever
material the ombudsman deems pertinent, the ombudsman is of the opinion that the complaint
is valid, the ombudsman may recommend that an administrative agency should:
new text end

new text begin (1) consider the matter further;
new text end

new text begin (2) modify or cancel its actions;
new text end

new text begin (3) alter a ruling;
new text end

new text begin (4) explain more fully the action in question; or
new text end

new text begin (5) take any other step that the ombudsman recommends to the administrative agency
involved.
new text end

new text begin If the ombudsman so requests, the agency shall, within the time the ombudsman specifies,
inform the ombudsman about the action taken on the ombudsman's recommendations or
the reasons for not complying with it.
new text end

new text begin (b) If the ombudsman has reason to believe that any public official or employee has
acted in a manner warranting criminal or disciplinary proceedings, the ombudsman may
refer the matter to the appropriate authorities.
new text end

new text begin (c) If the ombudsman believes that an action upon which a valid complaint is founded
has been dictated by a statute, and that the statute produces results or effects that are unfair
or otherwise objectionable, the ombudsman shall bring to the attention of the governor and
the legislature the ombudsman's view concerning desirable statutory change.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Grants. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may apply for and receive grants from public and
private entities for purposes of carrying out the ombudsman's powers and duties under
sections 241.90 to 241.95.
new text end

Sec. 6.

new text begin [241.94] ACCESS BY OMBUDSMAN TO DATA.
new text end

new text begin Notwithstanding section 13.384 or 13.85, the ombudsman has access to corrections and
detention data and medical data maintained by an agency and classified as private data on
individuals or confidential data on individuals when access to the data is necessary for the
ombudsman to perform the powers under section 241.93.
new text end

Sec. 7.

new text begin [241.95] PUBLICATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS; REPORTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Publication. new text end

new text begin The ombudsman may publish conclusions and suggestions
by transmitting them to the Office of the Governor. Before announcing a conclusion or
recommendation that expressly or impliedly criticizes an administrative agency or any
person, the ombudsman shall consult with that agency or person. When publishing an opinion
adverse to an administrative agency or any person, the ombudsman shall include in the
publication any statement of reasonable length made to the ombudsman by that agency or
person in defense or mitigation of the action.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Annual report. new text end

new text begin In addition to whatever reports the ombudsman may make on
an ad hoc basis, the ombudsman shall report to the governor at the end of each year on the
ombudsman's functions during the preceding year.
new text end

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 243.48, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

General searches.

The commissioner of corrections, the governor,
lieutenant governor, members of the legislature, deleted text beginanddeleted text end state officersnew text begin, and the ombudsman for
corrections
new text end may visit the inmates at pleasure, but no other persons without permission of
the chief executive officer of the facility, under rules prescribed by the commissioner. A
moderate fee may be required of visitors, other than those allowed to visit at pleasure. All
fees so collected shall be reported and remitted to the commissioner of management and
budget under rules as the commissioner may deem proper, and when so remitted shall be
placed to the credit of the general fund.

Sec. 9. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin $....... in fiscal year 2020 and $....... in fiscal year 2021 are appropriated from the general
fund to the commissioner of corrections to administer sections 2 to 7.
new text end