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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 1282

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 02/14/2019 04:04pm

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

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to children; creating the Office of the Ombudsperson for American Indian
Families; modifying provisions related to the American Indian community-specific
board; transferring money; appropriating money;amending Minnesota Statutes
2018, sections 257.0755, subdivision 1; 257.076, subdivisions 3, 5; 257.0768,
subdivisions 1, 6; 257.0769; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes,
chapter 3.

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

Section 1.

new text begin [3.9215] OMBUDSPERSON FOR AMERICAN INDIAN FAMILIES.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Scope. new text end

new text begin In recognition of the sovereign status of Indian tribes and the
unique laws and standards involved in protecting Indian children, this section creates the
Office of the Ombudsperson for American Indian Families and gives the ombudsperson the
powers and duties necessary to effectively carry out the functions of the office.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Creation. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson shall operate independently from but in
collaboration with the Indian Affairs Council.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Selection; qualifications. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson shall be selected by the American
Indian community-specific board established in section 3.9216. The ombudsperson serves
in the unclassified service at the pleasure of the community-specific board and may be
removed only for just cause. Each ombudsperson must 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 regarding the protection and placement of children. In
addition, the ombudsperson must be experienced in dealing with the American Indian
community and knowledgeable about the needs of that community. No individual may serve
as ombudsperson while holding any other public office.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Appropriation. new text end

new text begin Money appropriated for the Ombudsperson for American
Indian Families from the general fund or the special fund authorized by section 256.01,
subdivision 2, paragraph (o), is under the control of the ombudsperson. The amount necessary
for the ombudsperson to carry out the duties in this section is annually appropriated from
the general fund to the ombudsperson. This appropriation is available until expended and
is in addition to the appropriation under section 257.0769, subdivision 1, paragraph (a).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the
meanings given them.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Agency" means the divisions, officials, or employees of the Departments of Human
Services and Health and local district courts or a designated county social service agency
as defined in section 256G.02, subdivision 7, engaged in providing child protection and
placement services for children. Agency also means any individual, service, organization,
or program providing child protection, placement, or adoption services in coordination with
or under contract to any other entity specified in this subdivision, including guardians ad
litem.
new text end

new text begin (c) "American Indian" refers to individuals who are members of federally recognized
tribes, eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe, or are children or grandchildren
of a member of a federally recognized tribe. American Indian is a political status established
through treaty rights between the federal government and tribes. Each tribe has a unique
culture and practices specific to the tribe.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Facility" means any entity required to be licensed under chapter 245A.
new text end

new text begin (e) "Indian custodian" has the meaning given in United States Code, title 25, section
1903.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Organization. new text end

new text begin (a) The ombudsperson may select, appoint, and compensate out
of available funds the assistants and employees deemed necessary to discharge
responsibilities. All employees, except the secretarial and clerical staff, serve at the pleasure
of the ombudsperson in the unclassified service. The ombudsperson and full-time staff are
members of the Minnesota State Retirement Association.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ombudsperson may delegate to staff members or members of the American
Indian Community-Specific Board under section 3.9216 any of the ombudsperson'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

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Duties and powers. new text end

new text begin (a) The ombudsperson has the duties listed in this paragraph.
new text end

new text begin (1) The ombudsperson shall monitor agency compliance with all laws governing child
protection and placement, public education, and housing issues related to child protection,
as they impact American Indian children and their families. In particular, the ombudsperson
shall monitor agency compliance with sections 260.751 to 260.835; 260C.193, subdivision
3; and 260C.215.
new text end

new text begin (2) The ombudsperson shall work with local state courts to ensure that:
new text end

new text begin (i) court officials, public policy makers, and service providers are trained in cultural
competency. The ombudsperson shall document and monitor court activities in order to
heighten awareness of diverse belief systems and family relationships;
new text end

new text begin (ii) qualified expert witnesses from the appropriate American Indian community,
including tribal advocates, are used as court advocates and are consulted in placement
decisions that involve American Indian children; and
new text end

new text begin (iii) guardians ad litem and other individuals from American Indian communities are
recruited, trained, and used in court proceedings to advocate on behalf of American Indian
children.
new text end

new text begin (3) The ombudsperson shall primarily work on behalf of American Indian children and
families, but shall also work on behalf of all Minnesota children and families as the
ombudsperson deems necessary and appropriate.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ombudsperson has the authority to investigate decisions, acts, and other matters
of an agency, program, or facility providing protection or placement services to American
Indian children. In carrying out this authority and the duties in paragraph (a), the
ombudsperson has the power to:
new text end

new text begin (1) prescribe the methods by which complaints are made, reviewed, and acted upon;
new text end

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

new text begin (3) investigate, upon a complaint or upon personal initiative, any action of any agency;
new text end

new text begin (4) request and be given access to any information in the possession of any agency
deemed necessary for the discharge of responsibilities. The ombudsperson is authorized to
set reasonable deadlines within which an agency must respond to requests for information.
Data obtained from any agency under this clause retains the classification the data had under
section 13.02 and the ombudsperson shall maintain and disseminate the data according to
chapter 13;
new text end

new text begin (5) examine the records and documents of an agency;
new text end

new text begin (6) enter and inspect, during normal business hours, premises within the control of an
agency; and
new text end

new text begin (7) subpoena any agency personnel to appear, testify, or produce documentary or other
evidence which the ombudsperson deems relevant to a particular matter under inquiry, and
petition the appropriate state court to seek enforcement with the subpoena. Any witness at
a hearing or before an investigation has the same privileges reserved to such a witness in
the courts or under the laws of this state. The ombudsperson may compel nonagency
individuals to testify or produce evidence according to procedures developed by the advisory
board.
new text end

new text begin (c) The ombudsperson may apply for grants and accept gifts, donations, and
appropriations for training relating to the duties of the ombudsperson. Grants, gifts, donations,
and appropriations received are appropriated to the ombudsperson to be used for training.
The ombudsperson may seek and apply for grants to develop new programs and initiatives
and to continue existing programs and initiatives. These funds may not be used for operating
expenses for the Office of the Ombudsperson for American Indian Families.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Matters appropriate for review. new text end

new text begin (a) In selecting matters for review, an
ombudsperson should give particular attention to actions of an agency, facility, or program
that:
new text end

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

new text begin (2) may be unreasonable, unfair, oppressive, or inconsistent with a policy or order of an
agency, facility, or program;
new text end

new text begin (3) may result in abuse or neglect of a child;
new text end

new text begin (4) may disregard the rights of a child or another individual served by an agency or
facility; or
new text end

new text begin (5) may be unclear or inadequately explained, when reasons should have been revealed.
new text end

new text begin (b) The ombudsperson shall, in selecting matters for review, inform other interested
agencies in order to avoid duplicating other investigations or regulatory efforts, including
activities undertaken by a tribal organization under the authority of sections 260.751 to
260.835.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Complaints. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson may receive a complaint from any source
concerning an action of an agency, facility, or program. After completing a review, the
ombudsperson shall inform the complainant, agency, facility, or program. Services to a
child shall not be unfavorably altered as a result of an investigation or complaint. An agency,
facility, or program shall not retaliate or take adverse action, as defined in section 626.556,
subdivision 4a, paragraph (c), against an individual who, in good faith, makes a complaint
or assists in an investigation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Recommendations to agency. new text end

new text begin (a) If, after reviewing a complaint or conducting
an investigation and considering the response of an agency, facility, or program and any
other pertinent material, the ombudsperson determines that the complaint has merit or that
the investigation reveals a problem, the ombudsperson may recommend that the agency,
facility, or program:
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 rule, order, or internal policy;
new text end

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

new text begin (5) take other action as authorized under section 257.0762.
new text end

new text begin (b) At the ombudsperson's request, the agency, facility, or program shall, within a
reasonable time, inform the ombudsperson about the action taken on the recommendation
or the reasons for not complying with the recommendation.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 11. new text end

new text begin Recommendations and public reports. new text end

new text begin (a) The ombudsperson may send
conclusions and suggestions concerning any matter reviewed to the governor and shall
provide copies of all reports to the advisory board and to the groups specified in section
257.0768, subdivision 1. Before making public a conclusion or recommendation that
expressly or implicitly criticizes an agency, facility, program, or any person, the
ombudsperson shall inform the governor and the affected agency, facility, program, or
person concerning the conclusion or recommendation. When sending a conclusion or
recommendation to the governor that is adverse to an agency, facility, program, or any
person, the ombudsperson shall include any statement of reasonable length made by that
agency, facility, program, or person in defense or mitigation of the ombudsperson's
conclusion or recommendation.
new text end

new text begin (b) In addition to whatever conclusions or recommendations the ombudsperson may
make to the governor on an ad hoc basis, the ombudsperson shall, at the end of each year,
report to the governor concerning the exercise of the ombudsperson's functions during the
preceding year.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 12. new text end

new text begin Civil actions. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson and designees are not civilly liable for any
action taken under this section if the action was taken in good faith, was within the scope
of the ombudsperson's authority, and did not constitute willful or reckless misconduct.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 13. new text end

new text begin Use of funds. new text end

new text begin Any funds received by the ombudsperson from any source may
be used to compensate members of the American Indian community-specific board for
reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in aiding and assisting the ombudsperson in
programs and initiatives.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [3.9216] AMERICAN INDIAN COMMUNITY-SPECIFIC BOARD.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Membership. new text end

new text begin The board consists of five members who are members of
a federally recognized tribe or members of the American Indian community. The chair of
the Indian Affairs Council shall appoint the members of the board. In making appointments,
the chair must consult with other members of the council.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Compensation. new text end

new text begin Members do not receive compensation but are entitled to
receive reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred doing board-related
work, including travel for meetings, trainings, and presentations. Board members may also
receive per diem payments in a manner and amount prescribed by the board.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Meetings. new text end

new text begin The board shall meet regularly at the request of the appointing chair,
board chair, or ombudsperson. The board must meet at least quarterly. The appointing chair,
board chair, or ombudsperson may also call special or emergency meetings as necessary.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Removal and vacancy. new text end

new text begin (a) A member may be removed by the appointing
authority at any time, either for cause, as described in paragraph (b), or after missing three
consecutive meetings, as described in paragraph (c).
new text end

new text begin (b) If removal is for cause, the member must be given notice and an opportunity for a
hearing before removal.
new text end

new text begin (c) After a member misses two consecutive meetings, and before the next meeting, the
board chair shall notify the member in writing that the member may be removed if the
member misses the next meeting. If a member misses three consecutive meetings, the board
chair must notify the appointing authority.
new text end

new text begin (d) If there is a vacancy on the board, the appointing authority shall appoint a person to
fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Duties. new text end

new text begin (a) The board shall appoint the Ombudsperson for American Indian
Families and shall advise and assist the ombudsperson in various ways, including, but not
limited to:
new text end

new text begin (1) selecting matters for attention;
new text end

new text begin (2) developing policies, plans, and programs to carry out the ombudsperson's functions
and powers;
new text end

new text begin (3) attending policy meetings when requested by the ombudsperson;
new text end

new text begin (4) establishing protocols for working with American Indian communities;
new text end

new text begin (5) developing procedures for the ombudsperson's use of the subpoena power to compel
testimony and evidence from nonagency individuals; and
new text end

new text begin (6) making reports and recommendations for changes designed to improve standards of
competence, efficiency, justice, and protection of rights.
new text end

new text begin (b) The board shall not make individual case recommendations.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Grants, gifts, donations, and appropriations. new text end

new text begin The board may apply for grants
for the purpose of training and educating the American Indian community on child protection
issues involving American Indian families. The board may also accept gifts, donations, and
appropriations for training and education. Grants, gifts, donations, and appropriations
received are appropriated to the board for training and education purposes. The board may
seek and apply for grants to develop new programs and initiatives and to continue existing
programs and initiatives. These funds may also be used to reimburse board members for
reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in aiding and assisting the Office of the
Ombudsperson for American Indian Families in Office of the Ombudsperson for American
Indian Families programs and initiatives, but may not be used for operating expenses for
the Office of Ombudsperson for American Indian Families.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Terms and expiration. new text end

new text begin The terms and expiration of board membership are
governed by section 15.0575.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 257.0755, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Creation.

Each ombudsperson shall operate independently from but in
collaboration with the community-specific board that appointed the ombudsperson under
section 257.0768: deleted text beginthe Indian Affairs Council,deleted text end the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs, the
Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, and the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 257.076, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Communities of color.

"Communities of color" means the following: deleted text beginAmerican
Indian,
deleted text end Hispanic-Latino, Asian-Pacific, African, and African-American communities.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 257.076, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Family of color.

"Family of color" means any family with a child under the
age of 18 who is identified by one or both parents or another trusted adult to be of deleted text beginAmerican
Indian,
deleted text end Hispanic-Latino, Asian-Pacific, African, or African-American descent.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 257.0768, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Membership.

deleted text beginFourdeleted text endnew text begin Threenew text end community-specific boards are created. Each
board consists of five members. The chair of each of the following groups shall appoint the
board for the community represented by the group: deleted text beginthe Indian Affairs Council; deleted text endthe Minnesota
Council on Latino Affairs; the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage; and the Council
on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans. In making appointments, the chair must consult with other
members of the council.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 257.0768, subdivision 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 6.

Joint meetings.

The members of the deleted text beginfourdeleted text endnew text begin threenew text end community-specific boards
shall meet jointly at least four times each year to advise the ombudspersons on overall
policies, plans, protocols, and programs for the office.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 257.0769, is amended to read:


257.0769 FUNDING FOR THE OMBUDSPERSON PROGRAM.

Subdivision 1.

Appropriations.

(a)new text begin 25 percent of thenew text end money deleted text beginis appropriated fromdeleted text endnew text begin innew text end the
special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision 2, paragraph (o),new text begin is annually
appropriated
new text end to the deleted text beginIndian Affairs Councildeleted text endnew text begin Office of Ombudsperson for American Indian
Families
new text end for the purposes of deleted text beginsections 257.0755 to 257.0768deleted text endnew text begin section 3.9215new text end.

(b)new text begin 75 percent of thenew text end money deleted text beginis appropriated fromdeleted text endnew text begin innew text end the special fund authorized by section
256.01, subdivision 2, paragraph (o),new text begin is annually appropriatednew text end to the deleted text beginMinnesota Council on
Latino Affairs
deleted text endnew text begin Office of Ombudsperson for Familiesnew text end for the purposes of sections 257.0755
to 257.0768.

deleted text begin (c) Money is appropriated from the special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision
2
, paragraph (o), to the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage for the purposes of
sections 257.0755 to 257.0768.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (d) Money is appropriated from the special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision
2
, paragraph (o), to the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans for the purposes of sections
257.0755 to 257.0768.
deleted text end

Subd. 2.

Title IV-E reimbursement.

The commissioner shall obtain federal title IV-E
financial participation for eligible activity by the ombudsperson for families under section
257.0755new text begin and the ombudsperson for American Indian families under section 3.9215new text end. The
ombudsperson for familiesnew text begin and the ombudsperson for American Indian familiesnew text end shall maintain
and transmit to the Department of Human Services documentation that is necessary in order
to obtain federal funds.

Sec. 9. new text beginTRANSFER OF MONEY.
new text end

new text begin Before the end of fiscal year 2019, the Office of the Ombudsperson for Families must
transfer to the Office of the Ombudsperson for American Indian Families any remaining
money designated for use by the Ombudsperson for American Indian Families. This section
is cost-neutral.
new text end