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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 124-H.F.No. 768 
                  An act relating to veterans; classifying military 
                  certificates of discharge as private data on 
                  individuals; providing procedures for their release; 
                  amending Minnesota Statutes 2002, sections 13.785, 
                  subdivision 2; 196.08; 386.20, subdivision 1. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 13.785, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.] (a)  [CERTAIN 
        VETERANS BENEFITS AND MILITARY CERTIFICATES OF DISCHARGE.] 
        Access to military certificates of discharge and to files 
        pertaining to claims for certain veterans benefits is governed 
        by section 196.08. 
           (b)  [AGENT ORANGE INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE ACT.] 
        Disclosure of summary data and of the identity of a veteran 
        about whom information is received under sections 196.19 to 
        196.26, is governed by section 196.25. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 196.08, is 
        amended to read: 
           196.08 [FILES AND RECORDS CONFIDENTIAL.] 
           (a) The contents of, and all files, records, reports, 
        papers and documents pertaining to, any claim for the benefits 
        of Laws 1943, chapter 420, whether pending or adjudicated, shall 
        be deemed confidential and privileged and no disclosure thereof 
        shall be made, without the consent in writing of the claimant 
        who has not been adjudicated incompetent, except as follows: 
           (a) (1) To said claimant personally, a duly appointed 
        guardian, an attorney in fact, or a duly authorized 
        representative, and as to personal matters, when, in the 
        judgment of the commissioner, such disclosure would not be 
        injurious to the physical or mental health of the claimant.  
           (b) (2) To the representatives of veterans' organizations 
        recognized by the United States government, not exceeding five 
        from each such veterans' organizations, and when such 
        representatives have been duly certified as such by the state 
        department of any such veterans' organizations in the state of 
        Minnesota.  
           (c) (3) In any court in the state of Minnesota which has 
        jurisdiction of the parties to, and subject matter of, an action 
        or proceeding therein pending, as found by said court, when 
        required to be produced by the process of such court, and then 
        only in open court, as evidence, in such action or proceeding 
        after a judge thereof shall have ruled the same to be relevant 
        and competent evidence in such action or proceeding according to 
        the laws and statutes of said state.  
           (b) Notwithstanding section 382.16, and except as 
        authorized in paragraph (c), no government entity may release 
        the contents of, or any files, records, reports, papers, or 
        documents pertaining to, United States government form DD214 or 
        DD215 or any other certificate of discharge from military 
        service to any person unless that person: 
           (1) provides proof of identity; 
           (2) demonstrates tangible interest; and 
           (3) completes the required release form prepared by the 
        government entity. 
           (c) This section does not prohibit the release of forms 
        DD214 and DD215 or other certificates of discharge from military 
        service by an employee or official within a government entity to 
        another employee or official within that government entity for 
        purposes of performance of official duties. 
           (d) Forms DD214 and DD215 and certificates of discharge 
        from military service filed with a government agency on or after 
        January 1, 2004, are classified as private data on individuals 
        under section 13.02, subdivision 12. 
           (e) Notwithstanding section 386.015, subdivision 5, no fee 
        may be charged by a government entity for the release of 
        information to a qualified person under this section.  
           (f) For purposes of paragraph (b), a person who has a 
        tangible interest is: 
           (1) the subject of the record, report, paper, or document; 
           (2) the surviving spouse of the subject, if the subject is 
        deceased; 
           (3) a surviving child of the subject, if the subject is 
        deceased and there is no surviving spouse; 
           (4) a surviving parent of the subject, if the subject is 
        deceased and there is no surviving spouse or surviving children; 
        and 
           (5) a duly appointed guardian, an attorney in fact, or a 
        duly authorized representative. 
           (g) For purposes of this section, the term "government 
        entity" has the meaning given in section 13.02, subdivision 7a. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 386.20, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [RECORDATION.] (a) Certificates of 
        discharge from the United States army, the United States navy, 
        and the United States marine corps and releases or transfers 
        from active duty therein may be recorded in the office of the 
        county recorder of any county in this state by the person to 
        whom such discharge, release or transfer was issued without the 
        payment of any fee to the county recorder for recording the 
        same.  Upon the request of the person having such instrument 
        recorded, the county recorder shall not stamp, mark, or make any 
        endorsement upon any such certificate of discharge, release or 
        transfer, but after the recording thereof has been completed the 
        recorder shall return the certificate of discharge, release, or 
        transfer in the condition received.  
           (b) In any county where the compensation of the county 
        recorder consists of fees only, the county recorder shall be 
        entitled to a fee of 60 cents for recording such instrument, 
        which shall be paid by the county upon presentation of a 
        verified claim by the county recorder. 
           (c) The release of any information pertaining to military 
        certificates of discharge is governed by section 196.08. 
           Sec. 4.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Sections 1 to 3 are effective January 1, 2004. 
           Presented to the governor May 24, 2003 
           Signed by the governor May 28, 2003, 1:32 p.m.