Legislative update 2: Enviromental protection, law enforcement lists

The Legislature continued with its oversight functions last week by having hearings on the Legacy Amendment monies and programs in the House, Legacy Funding Division, chaired by Rep. Dean Urdahl.  I spoke with the Chairman who indicated he is working to bring improved transparency and accountability to the Legacy monies by working on possible legislation.  See posting for more background.

Environmental Reform
As posted previously, there is legislation moving through the process that would allow the proposer of development or a project such as business for example, to prepare a draft environmental impact statement(EIS) without government involvement which is different than current process.

This has led to accountability and public access issues.  See previous posting on this issue.  An amendment was adopted to HF 1, Section 1 and 8, to try to rectify this issue.  There are still concerns that the public would not have access to public data because there is no clarity as to how the the public would get access to the supporting and underlying data of the EIS.  The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce as of this posting is working on this issue.

There will be a hearing on the Senate companion, SF 42, at 3:00pm, Tuesday, February 1, in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  With possible hearing on Thursday, February 3, 1:00pm in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Law Enforcement Intelligence Gathering and Databases

Tomorrow will be the due date for the report of the named SF2575 Work group to be presented to the Legislature.  The work group dealt with issues of criminal intelligence, databases, and civil liberties, privacy, and accountability.  I have posted previously on this effort.  The report will be available from the Legislative Reference Library, but also on the Work Group Website in the near future.

Personal Note
In the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, tomorrow,  February 1, at 1:00pm, there will be testimony and presentations by Mark Anfinson, Minnesota Newspapers Association; Don Gemberling, former Director of the division of Administration that deals with Data Practices and Information Policy, current Director, Laurie Beyer-Kropuenske, and Rich Neumeister on the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

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