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Flanked by committee staff, Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chairs the Senate Judiciary committee on March 15. With Limmer, from left, are counsel Priyanka Premo, Senate researcher Linnea Michaelson, committee administrator Angela Cook, and legislative assistant to the chair Lilly Abbott. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)
Flanked by committee staff, Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, chairs the Senate Judiciary committee on March 15. With Limmer, from left, are counsel Priyanka Premo, Senate researcher Linnea Michaelson, committee administrator Angela Cook, and legislative assistant to the chair Lilly Abbott. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)

In the Hopper: Judiciary omnibus edition

Beating the first non-finance bill deadline by a day, the House Judiciary and Civil Law committee last week passed a 32-page data practices and civil law omnibus policy package that covered a lot of ground.Authored by House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, House File 631 contains 10 formerly standalone bills. It passed after a three-hour hearing on March 14.

In this special combo-bill edition of In the Hopper, we offer a glimpse into that bill’s various data practices and civil law provisions, identifying each by the file names and authors they had as standalone bills. There are a few notes on other committees’ activity at the end of the piece.

Data practices provisions

House File 54 (Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover) removes an intent requirement in current statute that must be met before government agencies must give notice about the unauthorized distribution of private data. Current statute says that government agencies need not give notice about a data breach unless the recipient has “intent to use the data for nongovernmental purposes.” Scott’s bill would do away with that requirement, requiring notice regardless of the recipient’s intent.

House File 361 (Lesch) expands private/nonpublic classifications of both rideshare and public-transit data so that those classifications apply to similar transportation programs, administered by any government entity. The language also adds “place of employment, photograph, [and] biographical information” to the existing list of data in this section that already is classified as private/nonpublic.

House File 1567 (Lesch) deals with the state’s ignition interlock program. It amends definitions in that program’s statute (Section 171.306) to specify that “location tracking capabilities” include both direct and indirect location tracking via global positioning system or cell-site location information.

House File 631 (Lesch). This is the bill original into which all the other provisions were added. It deals with location tracking warrants. According to House Research, “tracking warrants” sometimes are confused with warrants covering electronic or oral communications, wiretaps, pen registers, trap-and-trace devices and mobile-tracking devices. This section’s provisions clarify the distinctions between the various surveillance warrants that courts can issue under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 626A. It also amends some notice requirements, so that law enforcement agencies rather than judges must notify subjects regarding a warrant’s existence. It also amends Chapter 626A so that any reference to “warrant” in the current statute gets changed to “tracking warrant.”

 General civil law provisions

House File 1196 (Lesch) prohibits employers from requiring workers or job applicants to hand over their social media user names or passwords. However, a late amendment exempts law enforcement agencies performing backgrounds checks on prospective employees. This bill also prevents employers from taking negative action against a worker who refuses to share their social media information. However, employers may access an account that is publicly available and request access to certain content if they need to verify that it violates no laws or regulatory requirements. The measure allows an employee to sue for actual damages if the employer violates this section.

House File 561 (Lesch) changes the time limit for bringing a non-paternity action –from two years to three years—in cases where the parents were married but the husband found reason to believe he is not the biological father. The measure also requires that a declaration of a nonexistent father-child relationship must be made no more than three years after the person bringing the action begins to believe the male parent is not the actual biological father.

House File 1521 (Scott) requires a court in any state jurisdiction to include parenting education program information on the court’s web site. Under current law, parties in disputed custody or parenting-time cases must attend parenting classes. This section specifies that parents who haven’t agreed on parenting time or custody also must attend such classes, either in person or online. It further requires courts to notify parties that they can resolve their disputes through mediation.

House File 1666 (Scott) imposes a rebuttable presumption on courts that a child will spend half time with both parents, or as close to 50 percent as possible. If there are reasons to deviate from that, the court must include them in its order. This section also includes a list of additional considerations and new factors for courts to weigh when determining parenting time, but it prohibits use of marital status or the child’s age among those factors.

House File 298 (Rep. Ben Lein, DFL-Moorhead) amends background study requirements for parents who also are guardians of their children. It provides an exception for ongoing background studies when a child who was in parents’ care gets placed in a residential facility before turning 18.

The committee voted to approve the omnibus and send it to the general register to await a House floor vote.

Senate mini-omnibus

The Senate Judiciary committee took on 17 bills just before the first committee deadline on March 15. It rolled four of those into a single corrections mini-omnibus, Senate File 2188, authored by Senate Judiciary Chair Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove.

Limmer’s bill gives the Department of Corrections’ Fugitive Apprehension Unit authority to exercise general law enforcement duties when another law enforcement agency requests its help. In addition to that language, SF 2188 also now includes:

Senate File 1425 (Sen. Carolyn Laine, DFL-Columbia Heights), which repeals Minnesota Statutes Section 383A.404. That would eliminate the Ramsey County Community Corrections Department.

Senate File 1413 (Sen. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove), which revises the discipline procedures for correctional officers. It also changes the definition of “exclusive representative” to mean an employee organization that is certified by the Bureau of Mediation Services to negotiate with the employer on employees’ behalf.

Senate File 1200 (Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria), which authorizes county probation officers to supervise adult felons. State employees cannot be displaced by a county’s election to provide probation services under this section.

The corrections bill was adopted and sent to the Senate floor to await a vote. It is the third of the committee’s mini-omnibus bills to pass this year. The previous two dealt with sex crimes and DWI law.

The House Public Safety committee has yet to pass an omnibus package. However, its Corrections subcommittee passed an extensive corrections omnibus package, House File 1948, from Rep. Jack Considine, DFL-Mankato. That bill was passed as amended on March 13 and referred to the Public Safety committee.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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