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Minnesota Public Records

Minnesota Data Practices Act (Chapter 13, MDPA) outlines the publics right to access government records. As is the case with the other states' open records statutes, Minnesota's Chapter 13 defines public records as "all data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by a government entity." What constitutes a public record is not expressly defined beyond the allowance that "photographic, photo static, micro photographic, or microfilmed records shall be considered as accessible" regardless the size of the record. It is, however, implied that ALL forms of documentation are covered by this statute by the use of "all" in the definition.

Exceptions to this include, of course, any records that disclose private information about citizens and/ or state employees, or that would otherwise hinder the safety or operations of state entities.

As written the Minnesota Data Process Act is confusing, vague and hard to interpret. Studies by the Better Government Association and the National Freedom of Information Coalition have each given Minnesota a poor or dissatisfactory ranking. The most recent study conducted by The Citizen Advocacy Center out of Chicago, which found the state's law to be "extraordinarily complicated" and only "sporadically enforced."   More Info on this.


Minnesota, like so many other states in the US, follows the federal example of a 3 branch bicameral government. However, digging past the city and county levels of government, Minnesota has other entities that provide oversight and planning. For example, many lakes and rivers are overseen by watershed districts and soil and water conservation districts.

There are also several Native American reservations in Minnesota; seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) and four Dakota (Sioux) reservations. These communities are self-governing and independent. Tribal Directory

State Agencies

Attorney General
1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota St., St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 | Toll-free: (800) 657-3787
TTY: (651) 297-7206 | TTY: (800) 366-4812

Office of State Auditor
525 Park Street, Suite 500, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55103
(651) 296-2551 | Fax: (651) 296-4755 | TDD: (800) 627-3529

Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-3391 | Fax: (651) 296-2089 | Toll-free: (800) 657-3717

Secretary of State
180 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-2803 |  Fax: (651) 297-7067
Toll-free: (877) 551-6767 | TTY: (800) 627-3529

Minnesota State House of Representatives
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-2146 or  (800) 657-3550

Minnesota State Senate
Capitol Building
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
(651) 296-0504 | Fax: (651) 296-6511 | Toll-free: (888) 234-1112

Election Information

Minnesota State Archives
Minnesota Historical Society
345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906
(651) 259-3000