Legislative Update – April 15, 2014

Dear Members,

As we hit midpoint in the session I wanted to update everyone on some of the legislation that we are tracking. Please email or call me with any questions, comments or concerns, 612.290.6256.
Thanks, Lyall

Medical Marijuana. Bills have been introduced (S.F. 1641 – Dibble/H.F. 1818 – Melin) that would allow the use of medical marijuana in Minnesota. The House bill has received several hearings, but stalled due to opposition from law enforcement. Governor Dayton initially said he would follow the advice of law enforcement and would not sign any such legislation unless agreed to by the law enforcement community. However, last week the Governor challenged the Legislature to act on the bill, prompting the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to give the bill a hearing. This issue may receive more attention after the break.

Data Practices:
S.F. 211 – Dibble/H.F. 183 – Holberg: Penalties and procedure enhancement for access to data by public employees. This bill was introduced last year in response to reports of DNR personnel accessing driver’s license and other personal data. While most of the extremely controversial provisions have been stripped out (such as making unauthorized access a gross misdemeanor and imposing fines of up to $15,000 per violation), we still have concerns over provisions that: require the findings investigations of alleged breaches of security are reported on the government agency website; require that if no disciplinary action is taken the government agency must indicate why; and that this bill will lead to government entities doing more investigations into data breaches just to avoid potential litigation. The bill has passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting final conference committee negotiations.

S.F. 2066 – Dibble/H.F. 2120 – Holberg: Data practices and personal data privacy legislative commission establishment. This bill would establish a Legislative Commission on Data Practices and Personal Data Privacy. The Commission would study issues related to data practices, personal data privacy, and review legislation regarding government data practices issues. The bill has passed the House and is awaiting Senate floor action.

Expungement: (H.F. 2576 – Melin/S.F. 2214 – Champion). Over the interim, a bipartisan Expungement Working Group met to attempt to find ways to reduce unintended consequences for people with past criminal histories and give people with criminal records a second chance when it comes to finding jobs, housing, etc. after they have completed their sentences. The most controversial provision in this legislation is one that allows courts to expunge not only court records, but also executive branch materials such as arrest and investigative records for juveniles. The bill has passed the House and is awaiting Senate floor action.

Public Employee Relations Board: (H.F. 3014 – Carlson/S.F. 2506 – Pappas.) This bill would re-establish the Public Employees Relations Board to hear and decide Unfair Labor Practice matters and unit determination issues. The Governor would appoint the three members of the Board: one from labor, one from government and one neutral. The bill has broad union support as it is seen as a less expensive means to resolve these issues.

LGA: The House tax bill (H.F. 3167 – Lenczewski) includes an LGA inflator that provides roughly $11 million in state aid to cities beginning in 2015. The Senate’s tax bill (S.F. 2726 – Skoe) does not include this LGA inflator.