13.072 Opinions by the commissioner.
Subdivision 1. Opinion; when required. (a) Upon request of a state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision, the commissioner may give a written opinion on any question relating to public access to government data, rights of subjects of data, or classification of data under this chapter or other Minnesota statutes governing government data practices. Upon request of any person who disagrees with a determination regarding data practices made by a state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision, the commissioner may give a written opinion regarding the person's rights as a subject of government data or right to have access to government data. If the commissioner determines that no opinion will be issued, the commissioner shall give the state agency, statewide system, political subdivision, or person requesting the opinion notice of the decision not to issue the opinion within five days of receipt of the request. If this notice is not given, the commissioner shall issue an opinion within 20 days of receipt of the request. For good cause and upon written notice to the person requesting the opinion, the commissioner may extend this deadline for one additional 30-day period. The notice must state the reason for extending the deadline. The state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision must be provided a reasonable opportunity to explain the reasons for its decision regarding the data. The commissioner or the state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision may choose to give notice to the subject of the data concerning the dispute regarding the data.
(c) A written opinion issued by the attorney general shall take precedence over an opinion issued by the commissioner under this section.
Subd. 2. Effect. Opinions issued by the commissioner under this section are not binding on the state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision whose data is the subject of the opinion, but must be given deference by a court in a proceeding involving the data. The commissioner shall arrange for public dissemination of opinions issued under this section. This section does not preclude a person from bringing any other action under this chapter or other law in addition to or instead of requesting a written opinion. A government entity or person that acts in conformity with a written opinion of the commissioner issued to the government entity or person or to another party is not liable for compensatory or exemplary damages or awards of attorneys fees in actions under section 13.08 or for a penalty under section 13.09.
Subd. 3. Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 3 s 47
Subd. 4. Data submitted to commissioner. A state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision may submit not public data to the commissioner for the purpose of requesting or responding to a person's request for an opinion. Government data submitted to the commissioner by a state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision or copies of government data submitted by other persons have the same classification as the data have when held by the state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision. 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.