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HF 3367

as introduced - 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to data practices; specifying access to disputed data; requiring closed
meetings to be recorded; granting attorney fees in certain cases; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2006, sections 13.072, subdivision 4; 13D.05, subdivision
1; 13D.06, subdivision 4; Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, section 13.08,
subdivision 4.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 13.072, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Data submitted to commissioner.

A government entity may submit not
public data to the commissioner for the purpose of requesting or responding to a person's
request for an opinion. new text beginIf the commissioner requests the data in dispute, the government
entity must provide the data within ten days of the request.
new text endGovernment data submitted to
the commissioner by a government entity or copies of government data submitted by other
persons have the same classification as the data have when held by the government entity.
If the nature of the opinion is such that the release of the opinion would reveal not public
data, the commissioner may issue an opinion using pseudonyms for individuals. Data
maintained by the commissioner, in the record of an opinion issued using pseudonyms
that would reveal the identities of individuals protected by the use of the pseudonyms,
are private data on individuals.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, section 13.08, subdivision 4, is amended
to read:


Subd. 4.

Action to compel compliance.

(a) In addition to the remedies provided in
subdivisions 1 to 3 or any other law, any aggrieved person seeking to enforce the person's
rights under this chapter or obtain access to data may bring an action in district court to
compel compliance with this chapter and may recover costs and disbursements, including
reasonable attorney's fees, as determined by the court. If the court determines that an
action brought under this subdivision is frivolous and without merit and a basis in fact, it
may award reasonable costs and attorney fees to the responsible authority. If the court
issues an order to compel compliance under this subdivision, the court may impose a civil
penalty of up to $300 against the government entity. This penalty is payable to the state
general fund and is in addition to damages under subdivision 1. The matter shall be heard
as soon as possible. In an action involving a request for government data under section
13.03 or 13.04, the court may inspect in camera the government data in dispute, but shall
conduct its hearing in public and in a manner that protects the security of data classified as
not public. If the court issues an order to compel compliance under this subdivision, the
court shall forward a copy of the order to the commissioner of administration.

(b) In determining whether to assess a civil penalty under this subdivision, the court
shall consider whether the government entity has substantially complied with general
data practices under this chapter, including but not limited to, whether the government
entity has:

(1) designated a responsible authority under section 13.02, subdivision 16;

(2) designated a data practices compliance official under section 13.05, subdivision
13
;

(3) prepared the public document that names the responsible authority and describes
the records and data on individuals that are maintained by the government entity under
section 13.05, subdivision 1;

(4) developed public access procedures under section 13.03, subdivision 2;
procedures to guarantee the rights of data subjects under section 13.05, subdivision 8; and
procedures to ensure that data on individuals are accurate and complete and to safeguard
the data's security under section 13.05, subdivision 5;

(5) acted in conformity with an opinion issued under section 13.072 that was sought
by a government entity or another person; or

(6) provided ongoing training to government entity personnel who respond to
requests under this chapter.

(c) The court shall award reasonable attorney fees to a deleted text beginprevailingdeleted text end plaintiffnew text begin who
substantially prevails
new text end who has brought an action under this subdivision if the government
entity that is the defendant in the action was also the subject of a written opinion issued
under section 13.072 and the court finds that the opinion is directly related to the cause of
action being litigated and that the government entity did not act in conformity with the
opinion.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 13D.05, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

General principles.

(a) Except as provided in this chapter, meetings
may not be closed to discuss data that are not public data.

(b) Data that are not public data may be discussed at a meeting subject to this chapter
without liability or penalty, if the disclosure relates to a matter within the scope of the
public body's authority and is reasonably necessary to conduct the business or agenda item
before the public body.

(c) Data discussed at an open meeting retain the data's original classification;
however, a record of the meeting, regardless of form, shall be public.

new text begin (d) All closed meetings shall be tape recorded at the expense of the public body.
Unless otherwise provided by law, the tapes shall be preserved for at least three years after
the date of the meeting.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 13D.06, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Other remedies; requirements; limits.

(a) In addition to other remedies,
the court may award reasonable costs, disbursements, and reasonable attorney fees of up
to $13,000 to any party in an action under this chapter.

(b) The court may award costs and attorney fees to a defendant only if the court finds
that the action under this chapter was frivolous and without merit.

(c) A public body may pay any costs, disbursements, or attorney fees incurred by or
awarded against any of its members in an action under this chapter.

(d) No monetary penalties deleted text beginor attorney feesdeleted text end may be awarded against a member of a
public body unless the court finds that there was a specific intent to violate this chapter.

new text begin (e) The court shall award reasonable attorney fees to a plaintiff who substantially
prevails who has brought an action under this section if the government entity that is the
defendant in the action was also the subject of a written opinion issued under section
13.072, and the court finds that the opinion is directly related to the cause of action being
litigated and that the government entity did not act in conformity with the opinion.
new text end