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MNCOGI at the 2017 Minnesota Legislature

The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (MNCOGI) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is devoted to openness and transparency in government. Democratic government is only possible if individuals have access to the information they need in order to participate in the creation of public policy, and to hold their government accountable.

MNCOGI will have an active presence at the Minnesota Legislature this year, and our volunteer board members will frequently testify about bills impacting government transparency and accountability. During the 2017 Legislative Session, MNCOGI will seek to:

  • Help improve records retention, and work to prevent the destruction of government e-mail messages without proper process;
  • Bolster the Open Meeting Law;
  • Improve training about the requirements of the Data Practices Act;
  • Expand the coverage of the Data Practices Act;
  • Ensure public access to important pieces of government data.

Please contact us with any questions you have about government information policy in Minnesota, or about the issues we are tracking this session.


Principles

Democratic government is possible only if individuals have access to the government information they need in order to hold their government accountable.

Government at all levels has a responsibility to promote public participation by support of open access to all public government information.

Government information, regardless of physical form, must always, to the greatest extent possible, be available to the public. Government information is broadly defined to include all data held by the government including databases, information accumulated from raw data, documents, reports, maps and other publications, and all forms of correspondence.

Creation and preservation of government information that documents governmental operations are fundamental parts of assuring government accountability.

Research and public education about access to and availability of government information are essential to preserve and improve public access.

Activities

To assure the vitality of these principles, MNCOGI carries out or encourages the following activities.

MNCOGI promotes public knowledge of laws and principles regarding open access to government information by:

  • Maintaining and updating a website with links to resources and directions about how to use Minnesota’s law;
  • Hosting a blog for discussion of issues about access to government information; and,
  • Operating a speaker’s bureau to provide public presentations on access to government information.

MNCOGI informs individuals and organizations concerned about open access to government information by

  • Sponsoring “COGI-tations,” a series of presentations by subject matter experts;
  • Promoting and supporting research on these topics; and,
  • Linking with parallel efforts at the federal level that support Minnesota activities.

MNCOGI collaborates with other organizations to enhance participation in the affairs of government, particularly with regard to public access to government information, by

  • Building a coalition of organizations and individuals that promote MNCOGI principles;
  • Critiquing legislation, and,
  • Evaluating government’s compliance with state law and principles of open access.

MNCOGI recognizes a commitment to openness in government and the public right to know through the awarding of the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award on FOI Day, March 16.

MNCOGI seeks grants and conducts other fundraising to increase the visibility of information access issues in the Minnesota community as a whole and in individual communities.

Awards

American Library Association – 2005 Eileen Cooke State and Local Madison Award