13.072 OPINIONS BY THE COMMISSIONER.
Subdivision 1. Opinion; when required.
(a) Upon request of a government entity, 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 government entity, 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.
(b) Upon request of a body subject to chapter 13D, the commissioner may give a written
opinion on any question relating to the body's duties under chapter 13D. Upon request of a person
who disagrees with the manner in which members of a governing body perform their duties under
chapter 13D, the commissioner may give a written opinion on compliance with chapter 13D. A
governing body or person requesting an opinion under this paragraph must pay the commissioner
a fee of $200. Money received by the commissioner under this paragraph is appropriated to the
commissioner for the purposes of this section.
(c) If the commissioner determines that no opinion will be issued, the commissioner shall
give the government entity or body subject to chapter 13D or person requesting the opinion
notice of the decision not to issue the opinion within five business 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.
(d) 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 government entity or the members of a body subject to
chapter 13D must be provided a reasonable opportunity to explain the reasons for its decision
regarding the data or how they perform their duties under chapter 13D. The commissioner or the
government entity or body subject to chapter 13D may choose to give notice to the subject of the
data concerning the dispute regarding the data or compliance with chapter 13D.
(e) This section does not apply to a determination made by the commissioner of health under
13.3805, subdivision 1
, paragraph (b), or
(f) A written, numbered, and published 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 government entity or members of a body subject to chapter 13D whose data or performance
of duties is the subject of the opinion, but an opinion described in subdivision 1, paragraph (a),
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, members of a body subject to
chapter 13D, or person that acts in conformity with a written opinion of the commissioner issued
to the government entity, members, or person or to another party is not liable for compensatory or
exemplary damages or awards of attorneys fees in actions under section
or for a penalty
or for fines, awards of attorney fees, or any other penalty under chapter 13D.
A member of a body subject to chapter 13D is not subject to forfeiture of office if the member
was acting in reliance on an opinion.
Subd. 3.[Repealed, 1Sp1997 c 3 s 47
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. Government 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.
History: 1993 c 192 s 38,110; 1995 c 259 art 1 s 2,3,56; 2001 c 202 s 2; 1Sp2003 c 8 art 2 s
1,2; 2005 c 163 s 27; 2006 c 253 s 2; 2007 c 129 s 7