Legislature House of Representatives House Research State Government
Government Data Practices Summary
The Government Data Practices Act creates a presumption that all government data is
public, but contains numerous exceptions to this presumption. Minn. Stat. ch. 13.
Government data is defined broadly to include all data held by a government agency,
regardless of form or storage media of the data. All government data is presumed to be
available to the public, except as specifically provided otherwise.
The act contains a number of exceptions to the presumption that government data is
public. Each statutory exception states that data is private, nonpublic, confidential, or
||Data that identifies an individual and that is available only to the
subject of the data
||Data that identifies an individual and that is not available to anyone,
including the subject of the data
||Data that does not identify an individual and that is available only to
the subject of the data (e.g., to a business)
||Data that does not identify an individual and that is not available to
anyone, including the subject of the data
The law allows a government agency to apply to the Commissioner of Administration for a
temporary classification of data as something other than public. Under specified
conditions, the commissioner has power to grant these temporary classifications, which are
effective only until the legislature has an opportunity to act.
A governmental unit must allow a person to inspect public data for no charge.
Governmental units must make copies of public data upon request, but may charge the person
the actual costs of searching for retrieving, and copying the data requested.
For additional information: see
Minnesota Government Data Practices Act
– a 12-page publication providing an overview of the data practices act,
highlighting its most significant procedural features, rights, and remedies. July 2010.