Personnel Data
In early 2012, the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press newspapers sought data regarding a separation agreement involving a former Burnsville School District official. A dispute arose regarding how much of the data was public under Minn. Stat. 13.43. IPAD issued an opinion detailing which portions of the data were public. During the 2012 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature altered Chapter 13 to include additional detail regarding the definition of “public official” under Minn. Stat. 13.43.

Later in 2012, the Star Tribune requested data from the City of Minneapolis related to a separation agreement with a former employee – its Director of Regulatory Services. The city denied the request, due to its contention that the Director of Regulatory Services was not a public official as defined within Minn. Stat. 13.43.

Data Classification Prior to Session
Minn. Stat. 13.43 contains provisions governing access to employment and disciplinary actions related to certain government employees and public officials. The definitions of these terms have been modified over time in response to various disputes over data access.

MNCOGI position
Going into the Session, MNCOGI’s position was that it supported efforts to amend Minn. Stat. 13.43 so as to clarify that it applied to all employees working in any management capacity, in any government entity.

Bills
SF 1143 was introduced in the Senate, and HF 604 was introduced in the House. Each had identical language – most critically, language that specified that “any employee who supervises or manages three or more people” was a public official for the purposes of 13.43.

Procedural history
Each bill went through its respective hearing process. MNCOGI testimony resulted in “chiefs” being added to the list of “public official” categories included in the language of HF 20. Further amendments removed the language that expanded the definition of “public official” to “employees that supervised three or more people.”

In the Senate Judiciary Committee, MNCOGI urged the passage of the original version of SF 1143, but the Committee instead passed an amended version that matched the House version of the bill. The personnel data provisions of these bills ended up in the Omnibus Data Practices bill.

Outcome
Minn. Stat. 13.43 maintained aspects of its pre-session form. However, “chiefs” was added to its definition of “public officials,” and certain other modifications were made that expanded the “public official” definition.

Documents
SF 1143
HF 604
MNCOGI testimony on SF 1143