Requesting an Open Meeting Law Advisory Opinion
The Commissioner of Administration has authority to issue non-binding advisory opinions on certain issues related to the Open Meeting Law (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13D). A $200 fee is required. The Information Policy Analysis Division (IPAD) handles matters relating to advisory opinions and prepares drafts on behalf of the Commissioner.
- A public body subject to the Open Meeting law (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13D) can request an opinion relating to the body’s duties under Chapter 13D. (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.072, subdivision 1(b).) The Commissioner will not accept an opinion from a member of a governing body when the dispute is between or among members of the body.
- A person who disagrees with the manner in which members of a governing body perform their Chapter 13D duties can request an opinion. (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.072, subdivision 1(b).)
The Commissioner will not accept an opinion request in which the issues giving rise to the request no longer are 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.
- 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 citations to any relevant statutes, rules, or case law.
- Please let us know if you are involved in litigation relating to the open meeting law issue. The Commissioner will not issue an opinion if a court will be evaluating the matter.
- Make checks payable to the Department of Administration/IPAD.
- The Commissioner does not accept anonymous opinion requests.
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.