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Release: Minn. House approves Rep. Klevorn’s legislation to protect privacy of rural Minnesotans seeking mental health treatment

Thursday, March 31, 2022


SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House approved legislation with broad bipartisan support on a vote of 131-0 authored by Rep. Ginny Klevorn (DFL-Plymouth), to protect the personal privacy of rural Minnesotans seeking advice and using mental health services. 

“Mental health is still an extremely sensitive topic and loaded with stigma,” said Rep. Klevorn. “There is still a great need for mental health services in rural communities related to agricultural stress. Minnesota families ought to be able to seek help for mental and behavioral health concerns, and it’s important they are assured their privacy will be protected.”

Rep. Klevorn’s legislation modifies the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act to prevent public access to personal identification collected and maintained by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Minnesota State college and university system, or any other entities about an individual who sought assistance with a mental or behavioral health issue or contacted the Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline. The MDA funds services to support rural farmers in stress, such as the Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline and farmer mental health counseling.

In Minnesota, all information collected or created by government entities and their contractors is subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and is therefore consider public information unless the relevant government entity can cite a law classifying it private or confidential. Currently, there is no law that classifies information collected by the MDA.

Video recording of today’s floor debate can be found on the House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.