A legislative data practices panel heard a trio of bills Tuesday that would alter state law on subjects like how long government entities must retain electronic correspondence, and clarify that certain video and audio recordings are public personnel data.
The Legislative Commission on Data Practices took no action during the informational hearing. All bills heard were introduced during the 2017 session.
Sponsored by Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), HF1316 would add video, audio and other recordings made by government entities to a list of publicly available personnel data, unless those recordings are classified as non-public under other applicable law.
“This area of law is moving — it is moving really fast,” Lesch said. “And we, as a Legislature don’t remember, or realize, that it’s moving really fast.”
The bill, co-sponsored by commission chair Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover), is in response to a dispute between KSTP-TV and the Metropolitan Council over a data request that concerned a video recording on a Metro Transit bus. The council’s denial of KSTP’s request on the grounds that the video was “exclusively for a personnel purpose” was upheld by a 2016 Minnesota Supreme Court decision.
Lawmakers also heard legislation that would update record retention laws for government entities. HF1185, sponsored by Scott, would require agencies to retain electronic correspondence for no less than three years.
Another bill heard Tuesday was HF 1701, sponsored by Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-Mpls). It would amend the definition of “electronic access data” in state law to clarify that the private/non-public classification in state law does not necessarily apply to data created when a government entity’s employee or contractor accesses a government computer or database.
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