Requesting a Data Practices Advisory Opinion

The Commissioner of Administration has authority to issue non-binding advisory opinions on certain issues related to the Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13). No fee is required. The Information Policy Analysis Division (IPAD) handles matters relating to advisory opinions and prepares drafts on behalf of the Commissioner. 

  • A government entity subject to Chapter 13 can request an opinion on questions relating to public access to data, rights of data subjects, and classification of data. (See Minnesota Statutes, section 13.072, subdivision 1(a).)
  • A person who disagrees with a government entity’s determination regarding data practices can request an opinion regarding the person’s rights as a subject of government data or right to access government data. (See Minnesota Statutes, section 13.072, subdivision 1(a).)

The Commissioner will not accept an opinion request in which the issues giving rise to the request are no longer timely. Advisory opinions are based upon the written record provided to the Commissioner. The Commissioner does not have fact-finding authority.

To make a request:

  • Write (letter or email) to the Commissioner of Administration, c/o IPAD (for address, see end of this page).
  • State that you are requesting an advisory opinion.
  • Explain the facts briefly. Provide a clear, concise statement of your position/analysis of the issue(s). State the issue(s) you want the Commissioner to address.
  • Provide copies of any related documentation or correspondence, including a copy of the original data request (if applicable) and any response(s), as well as citations to any relevant statutes, rules, or case law.
  • Please let us know if you are involved in litigation relating to the data practices issue. The Commissioner will not issue an opinion if a court will be evaluating the matter. 
  • The Commissioner does not accept anonymous opinion requests.  (If your request is accepted and the data at issue reveal private data about you, the opinion can refer to you using a pseudonym.)

Upon receiving your request, the Commissioner will evaluate it: 

  • The Commissioner’s authority to issue advisory opinions is permissive.  This means the Commissioner has the right to refuse your opinion request.  If the Commissioner rejects your opinion request, IPAD will mail you a letter within five business days.
  • If the Commissioner needs more information to move forward with your opinion request, IPAD will contact you.
  • If the Commissioner accepts your request, IPAD will send you a confirmation letter.    

Please contact IPAD before submitting an opinion request if you have questions as to whether the Commissioner has authority to address your concerns. This will give IPAD a chance to discuss the issues in question with you and to determine whether they fall within the Commissioner’s authority, and specify the information/documentation IPAD will need as part of the opinion request.