Statutory Citation: Minn. Statutes 13.01 et seq.

Definition of Public Record

Public records are defined as all data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by any government entity regardless of its physical form, storage media or conditions of use. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exempt: Juvenile court records; and some personnel information. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

No timeframe is specified. 3

Information on Fees

The MGDPA is unclear on many of the facets of FOIA fees. In person inspection carries no charge, and government records that are electronic can be charged for the time spent searching for and duplicating the records electronically, but may not charge for redaction or legal review. Agencies in Minnesota have begun charging for search time and labor costs on lengthy requests and this practice has been held up on appeal. Paying for FOIA has been a growing issue for records requesters in Minnesota, and looks to be getting worse not better. 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

$300 fine can be levied by a court ordering an agency to grant access. It may also be classified as a misdemeanor depending if it was a willful violation or not. If it is filed as a misdemeanor the offending FOIA officer could be suspended without pay, or lose their job. 5

Attorney Fees

Yes, you can win attorney’s fees.

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at info@goldwaterinstitute.org to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute