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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

3.97 Audit policy; creation of commission; transfer of functions of public examiner; access to data.

Subdivision 1. Continuous legislative review of the effect of grant-in-aid programs, the spending of public funds and their financing at all levels of government is required in the public interest to enable the enactment of appropriate legislation.

Subd. 2. The legislative audit commission is created. The commission consists of:

(1) the majority leader of the senate and the president of the senate or their designees;

(2) the chair of the senate committee on taxes or a designee who is a member of the committee;

(3) the chair of the senate committee on governmental operations and reform or a designee who is a member of the committee;

(4) the chair of the senate committee on finance or a designee who is a member of the committee;

(5) five members of the senate appointed by the senate minority leader;

(6) the speaker of the house and the chair of the house committee on rules or their designees;

(7) the chair of the house committee on taxes or a designee who is a member of the committee;

(8) the chair of the house committee on governmental operations and gaming or a designee who is a member of the committee;

(9) the chair of the house ways and means committee or a designee who is a member of the committee; and

(10) five members of the house appointed by the house minority leader.

The appointed members of the commission shall serve for a term commencing upon appointment and expiring at the opening of the next regular session of the legislature in the odd-numbered year and until a successor is appointed. A vacancy in the membership of the commission shall be filled for the unexpired term in a manner that will preserve the representation established by this subdivision.

The commission shall meet in January of each odd-numbered year to elect its chair and other officers as it may determine necessary. A chair shall serve a two-year term, expiring on January 1 in the odd-numbered year following election, and until a successor is elected. The chair shall alternate biennially between the senate and the house. The commission shall meet at the call of the chair or the executive secretary. The members shall serve without compensation but be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses as members of the legislature. The commission may exercise the powers prescribed by section 3.153.

Subd. 3. The department of public examiner is transferred from the executive to the legislative branch.

Subd. 4. The legislative auditor is the executive secretary of the commission. The legislative auditor shall be appointed by the commission for a six-year term and serve in the unclassified service. The legislative auditor shall not at any time while in office hold any other public office. The legislative auditor shall not be removed from office before the expiration of the term of service except for cause after public hearing.

Subd. 5. The legislative auditor shall establish a financial audits division and a program evaluation division to fulfill the duties prescribed in this section. Each division shall be supervised by a deputy auditor, appointed by the legislative auditor, with the approval of the commission, for a term coterminous with the legislative auditor's term. The deputy auditors may be removed before the expiration of their terms only for cause. The legislative auditor and deputy auditors may each appoint a confidential secretary to serve at pleasure. The commission shall fix the salaries of the deputy auditors and confidential secretaries. The deputy auditors may perform and exercise the powers, duties and responsibilities imposed by law on the legislative auditor when authorized by the legislative auditor. The deputy auditors and the confidential secretaries serve in the unclassified civil service, but all other employees of the legislative auditor are in the classified civil service.

Subd. 6. All the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the department of public examiner relating to the state of Minnesota, its departments and agencies as described in Minnesota Statutes 1971, section 215.03, and any other law concerning powers, duties, and responsibilities of the public examiner not otherwise dealt with by Laws 1973, chapter 492, are transferred to the legislative auditor. Nothing in this subdivision shall supersede the powers conferred upon the commissioner of finance under section 16A.055.

Subd. 7. In addition to the legislative auditing duties concerning state financial matters, the legislative auditor shall also exercise and perform duties prescribed by rule of the legislature or either body of it or by the commission. The legislative auditor shall review department policies and evaluate projects or programs requested by the commission. Any standing legislative committee having legislative jurisdiction may request the commission to review projects or programs.

Subd. 8. The legislature may, by rule, provide to the legislative auditor the testimonial powers that are conferred by law on legislative standing commissions or committees.

Subd. 9. The legislative auditor is subject to the government data practices act, chapter 13. If data provided by the legislative auditor to the commission is disseminated by the commission or its members or agents in violation of section 13.05, subdivision 4, the commission is subject to liability under section 13.08, subdivisions 1 and 3.

Subd. 10. Members of the commission have access to data that is collected or used by the legislative auditor and classified as not public or as private or confidential only as authorized by resolution of the commission. The commission shall not authorize its members to have access to private or confidential data on individuals collected or used in connection with the collection of any tax.

Subd. 11. "Audit" as used in this subdivision means a financial audit, a program evaluation, a best practices review, or an investigation. Data relating to an audit are not public or with respect to data on individuals are confidential until the final report of the audit has been published or the audit is no longer being actively pursued. Data that support the conclusions of the report and that the legislative auditor reasonably believes will result in litigation are not public and with respect to data on individuals are confidential until the litigation has been completed or is no longer being actively pursued. Data on individuals that could reasonably be used to determine the identity of an individual supplying data for an audit are private if the data supplied by the individual were needed for an audit and the individual would not have provided the data to the legislative auditor without an assurance that the individual's identity would remain private, or the legislative auditor reasonably believes that the subject would not have provided the data. The definitions of terms provided in section 13.02 apply for purposes of this subdivision.

Subd. 12. The commission shall periodically select topics for the legislative auditor to evaluate. Topics may include any agency, program, or activity established by law to achieve a state purpose, or any topic that affects the operation of state government, but the commission shall give primary consideration to topics that are likely, upon examination, to produce recommendations for cost savings, increased productivity, or the elimination of duplication among public agencies.

HIST: 1973 c 492 s 12; 1973 c 720 s 76 subd 2; 1975 c 204 s 90; 1980 c 484 s 1-3; 1981 c 311 s 39; 1982 c 545 s 24; 1983 c 317 s 1; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 469 art 1 s 1; 1989 c 351 s 1; 1991 c 345 art 1 s 38; 1993 c 4 s 5; 1994 c 632 art 3 s 15; 1997 c 184 s 1