Resource Library

Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, An Introduction

Date: May 2015

Today, the public demands greater government transparency. Government entities are fielding requests from individual citizens, private businesses, special interest groups, the media and other public entities to disclose information regarding the myriad activities and operations of government. At the same time, government entities are required to take measures to ensure privacy in the information age. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (the Act)—originally enacted in 1974—is an evolving statute that attempts to strike a balance between the dual public policy goals of government transparency and data privacy. The Act regulates all government data collected, created, received, maintained, disseminated or stored by public government entities (state agencies, political subdivisions or statewide systems), irrespective of the data’s physical form, storage, media or conditions of use. Centrally, the Act establishes a presumption that government data are publicly accessible, unless access is prohibited either by law or by a temporary data classification. This Resource provides an overview of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13. The Act’s rules are reflected in Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1205.