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Retiring privacy guru Holberg is recognized on House floor

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, got accolades from both sides of the aisle as the House of Representatives took up the outgoing lawmaker’s parting gift to her colleagues: the opportunity to immerse themselves in maddeningly complex privacy-related policy issues that have largely defined her 16-year tenure at the Capitol.

By a wide margin, the House on Wednesday voted to establish a Legislative Commission on Data Practices and Personal Data Privacy, a 10-member commission tasked with developing recommendations related to technology, privacy and government policy.

Before taking action, several representatives rose from the House floor to praise Holberg for her willingness to delve into the often boring details.

Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, said such issues can “make your eyes roll into the back of your head” but are “really, really important.” House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said Holberg “exemplifies what’s best about this place.”

Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, paid homage to Holberg’s expertise. “When she speaks on that, there’s nobody that sways anybody more in this chamber,” Daudt said. “She will be sorely missed.”

Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, said the establishment of the privacy commission will be a fitting legacy to Holberg, who announced earlier this year that she would not seek a ninth term.

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