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Residential-based businesses could see online look-up protections

Security concerns for one Eden Prairie business owner could translate into more protective measures for home-based business owners throughout Minnesota.

Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) told the House State Government Finance Committee Tuesday that one of her constituents, a single female, had people coming to her home after finding out more about her business. The unexpected guests had used the secretary of state’s website to track down the residential-based business.

Loon sponsors HF2722, as amended, which would prohibit the secretary of state’s office from publishing registered addresses online of single-individual, residential-based businesses. The public would still be allowed to request information via phone, mail, email and fax.

The secretary of state’s office estimates the bill would cost $55,000 upfront for 650 staff hours to amend documents and forms, along with an ongoing $11,000-per-year operational cost.

The committee held the bill over for possible inclusion in its omnibus bill. A companion, SF2430, sponsored by Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.

Bert Black, legal advisor for the Office of the Secretary of State, said the proposal is “something that we understand.” Not only does the office, which also houses data on its Safe at Home program, believe safety is a priority, he said, but if home-based businesses are attracting traffic, there are local zoning concerns, too.  

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