Chapter 5
Particular Subjects

  1. Omnibus Appropriation Bills
    1. Appropriation Required for Spending
    2. Omnibus Bills Described
    3. Omnibus Bills are Committee Bills
    4. Drafting for Omnibus Bills: Six Essentials
      1. Amount
      2. Fiscal year of appropriation
      3. Words of appropriation
      4. Source
      5. Recipient
      6. Purpose
    5. The Education Aids Bill
    6. Claims Bill
    7. Item Veto of an Omnibus Bill
    8. Broader Title than Other Bills
    9. Minnesota Cases on Appropriations Issues
  2. Bonding
    1. General Considerations
    2. Method of Drafting Bonding Bills
    3. Specific Problem Areas
    4. Terminology in Conversation
  3. Crimes and the Courts
    1. Substantive Law of Crimes
    2. Law of Criminal Procedure
    3. State Components of Criminal Justice System
      1. Department of Public Safety
      2. Office of the Attorney General
      3. Cunty Attorneys' Council
      4. Department of Corrections
      5. Ombudsman for Corrections
      6. Board of Pardons
      7. Crime Victim and Witness Advisory Council
      8. Crime Victims Reparations Board
      9. Minnesota public defender; district public defenders
      10. Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training
      11. Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission
    4. Local Components of Criminal Justice System
      1. Police Services
      2. Prosecution and Defense Services
    5. Courts' Role in Criminal Justice System
      1. Supreme Court
      2. Court of Appeals
      3. District Court
    6. Summary of Statutes and Rules
  4. Special Laws
    1. Prohibition
    2. Local Laws
    3. Specific Problem Areas
    4. Laws Relating to Specific Courts
  5. Taxes
    1. Constitutional Considerations
    2. Cross-references to Federal Laws
    3. Effective Dates
  6. Organization of State Government
    1. General Considerations
    2. Basic Provisions for a New Agency
    3. Alteration of Existing Agencies
    4. Employees
  7. Organization of Counties, Cities, and Metropolitan Government
    1. Counties
    2. Cities
    3. Towns
    4. Metropolitan Government
    5. Other Local Government Units
  8. Retirement and Pension Laws
    1. Existing Major Plans
    2. Existing Minor Plans
    3. Problem of "Omitted Buy Back"
  9. Religious Issues Including Use of Public Funds for Religious Institutions
  10. Administrative Procedures
    1. Statutory Law
    2. Grants of Authority
    3. Exemptions
    4. Repeals
    5. Amendments
    6. Conforming Changes
  11. State Land Transfers
  12. Examples

1. Omnibus Appropriation Bills

(a) Appropriation Defined; Why Important; Key Laws

An appropriation is the formal act of setting state money apart for a specific purpose by the legislature in clear terms in a law. 63 Am. Jur. 2d, "Public Funds," S 45. The act of appropriating is important because the Minnesota Constitution, like most, provides that: "No money shall be paid out of the treasury of this state except in pursuance of an appropriation by law. " Article XI, section 1. Minnesota Statutes, chapter 16A, sets out most of the statutes on the state budget and appropriation system.

An act containing an appropriation is effective the next July 1 unless a different effective date is stated in the act. Minnesota Statutes, section 645.02.

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(b) Omnibus Bills Described

This section covers the omnibus appropriation bills. For appropriations in other bills see section 4.7(g). Each omnibus bill has many appropriation items (some with conditions, called riders, added), often to several agencies, for many purposes. The omnibus bills usually contain new and amendatory law apart from, but related to, the appropriation items. The omnibus bills are among the lengthiest bills considered each session. Joint Rule 2.02 sets out legislative procedures for the omnibus bills.

In recent practice, there have been eight omnibus appropriation bills in an odd-numbered year and at least two in an even-numbered year.

(1) The odd-year bills, named for their principal subjects (sometimes each house has a separate name), and a citation to a recent example of each, are:

  1. State government, including legislative branch appropriations; Laws 1995, chapter 254;

  2. Health and human services; Laws 1995, chapter 207;

  3. Higher education; Laws 1995, chapter 212;

  4. K-12 education finance; Laws 1995, First Special Session chapter 3;

  5. Environment and natural resources; Laws 1995, chapter 220;

  6. Transportation and other agencies; Laws 1995, chapter 265;

  7. Criminal justice, including judicial branch appropriations; Laws 1995, chapter 226; and

  8. Community development; Laws 1995, chapter 224.

(2) The even-year bills with a recent citation are:

  1. One or more supplemental appropriations bills, supplementing the appropriations made in the omnibus bills of the odd year; Laws 1996, chapter 395, higher education; 407, environment; and 412, K-12 finance; and

  2. The building bill, including appropriations for big building projects; Laws 1996, chapter 463.

(3) See Joint Rules of the Senate and House 2.02 for a list of, and more details about, the odd-year bills. A bill for claims against the state is also listed. In recent years there has been a short claims bill each year; Laws 1995, chapter 228 and Laws 1996, chapter 360. A short bonding bill in the odd-numbered year is also becoming traditional; Laws 1995, First Special Session chapter 2. In recent years, an omnibus MinnesotaCare (health insurance) bill has been enacted separately as well; Laws 1995, chapter 254 (see article 11 for appropriations).

Since each house develops its own bills, ordinarily no companions are introduced in the other body.

Omnibus appropriation bills are almost always referred to conference committees.

Omnibus appropriation bills often contain vestiges of bills considered at an earlier stage in the legislative process. An elaborate bill proposing a new program may be passed as a one-line item in an omnibus appropriation bill.

Omnibus appropriation bills have the essential elements of other bills: each has a title, an enacting clause, and is divided into sections and subdivisions. The format of the appropriating language of the omnibus bills, however, is different from other bills. A glance at an ordinary bill and one of the cited bills will show the differences.

Each omnibus bill has many examples of riders attached to appropriation items.

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(c) Omnibus Bills as Committee Bills

Some omnibus bills are committee bills: they are put together by units of house and senate committees in meetings extending over several weeks. After they are finalized by the full committee, they are introduced by the chair on behalf of the committee and given priority for floor consideration. Omnibus bills are subject to much change as the bills are being put together. Other omnibus bills, particularly in the house in recent years, are assembled in the same way as committee bills but for procedural reasons are amended on to an existing bill rather than introduced as a committee bill.

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(d) Drafting for Omnibus Bills: Six Essentials

The best way to discover the drafting style and form of omnibus bills is to review recent omnibus bills. Review the examples on shown in section 12 of this chapter. The appropriating language in an omnibus bill has the same six elements (listed below) of any appropriation:

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(1) Amount.

The amount should be stated in figures, usually rounded to the nearest thousand dollars.

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(2) Fiscal year of appropriation.

The year should be stated in figures. State accounts are kept by fiscal year so appropriations should not be made for a biennium. To have the effect of appropriating for the biennium either an appropriation should be made for each year of a biennium or for the first year of a biennium but expressly available through the second year of the biennium. Appropriations in sessions in odd-numbered years may be made for the current year and for either or both years of the next biennium, but not beyond. Appropriations in even-numbered year sessions may be made for either or both years of the current biennium, but not beyond.

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(3) Words of appropriation.

The fact that money is appropriated should be expressly stated. Use of any words to accomplish an appropriation other than the phrase "is appropriated" may invite a lawsuit as to whether an appropriation was intended.

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(4) Source.

A source for the appropriated funds must be stated if a source other than the state's general fund is intended. If the general fund is the intended source, "general fund" may but need not be expressly stated.

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(5) Recipient.

A recipient, ordinarily other than a private entity or a subdivision of government, should be named. In recent practice, the recipient has more frequently been an official, rather than an agency, in keeping with the practice of assigning individual official responsibility for duties imposed by law.

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(6) Purpose.

A purpose for the appropriation should be clearly and precisely stated. Consult Chapter 4, section 7 and the examples related to it for drafting appropriation language for special situations.


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(e) The Education Revenue Bill

The bill appropriating money for educational revenue for school districts and containing new and amendatory law on school district programs is a hybrid. Like an omnibus bill, it is lengthy, has many appropriation items, and is assembled in pieces by special units of committees. Its format is similar to other bills except that it is subdivided by subjects into articles due to its length. Also, unlike some omnibus bills, the education revenue bill is not strictly a committee bill: its bulk is amended onto an introduced bill. To extend the contrast: it is put together by units of the education committees, not the money committees, though the appropriations and finance committees review it. Finally, new text is underlined and the bill ordinarily does not contain the strings of riders or conditions that often accompany appropriations in an omnibus bill. Despite its formal differences from the omnibus bills, the education revenue bill is in substance and in the way it is processed more similar to, than different from, the omnibus bills. The major education revenue bill is considered in the odd-numbered year, and a supplemental bill is considered in the even-numbered year. See, for example, Laws 1991, chapter 265, and Laws 1992, chapter 499. Like the omnibus bills, the education revenue bills' differences are usually resolved by conference committee.

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(f) Claims Bill

In recent years, the legislature annually has passed a bill appropriating money for certain claims against the state. See Laws 1992, chapter 541. The claims bill has become less significant since the state has limited its tort immunity and in so doing allowed some lawsuits against the state.

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(g) Item Veto of an Omnibus Bill

The Minnesota Constitution provides that "if a bill presented to the governor contains several items of appropriation of money, he may veto one or more of the items while approving the bill. " Article IV, section 23. Two recent cases address the question of what is to be considered an "item of appropriation": "Estimates" in riders were not items of appropriation, Inter Faculty Organization v. Carlson, 478 N.W. 2d 192 (Minn. 1991); "an assignment of revenue" to a particular program was an item of appropriation, Johnson v. Carlson, 507 N.W. 2d 232 (Minn. 1993).

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(h) Broader Title than Other Bills

The title of an omnibus appropriations bill should be broader than the title of most bills to allow for the omnibus nature of the bills; still, the omnibus bills are subject to the state constitutional requirement that "no law shall embrace more than one subject which shall be expressed in its title." Minnesota Constitution, article IV, section 17. A drafter may wish to review the titles of recent omnibus bills for examples.

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(i) Minnesota Cases on Appropriations Issues

A drafter of appropriations should be aware of some Minnesota cases that have touched on issues involving appropriations:

(1) A state obligation to a political subdivision is of no force without an appropriation. State ex rel. Chase v. Preus, 147 Minn. 125 at 127, 179 N.W. 725 (1920). County of Beltrami v. Marshall, 271 Minn. 115, 135 N.W. 2d 749 (1965).

(2) An official may obligate the state contingent upon an appropriation, but the legislature can avoid the obligation by not making the appropriation; more surely, by specially excluding the obligation from appropriations. Butler v. Hatfield, 277 Minn. 314, 152 N.W. 2d 484 (1967); United States Fire Insurance Co. v. Minnesota State Zoological Board, 307 N.W. 2d 490 (1981).

(3) A provision of an omnibus appropriation bill even though uncoded can be as permanent as coded statutes, and in the circumstances of the case can repeal a coded statute by implication. State v. City of Duluth, 238 Minn. 128, 56 N.W. 2d 416 (1952).

Based on the Duluth case, a drafter should be careful to indicate that a substantive provision is only temporary or it may be construed as permanent. A common way to indicate the temporary nature of a provision is to make it effective "for the biennium" or "during the biennium."

(4) Must the state spend more than the legislature appropriated to upgrade a program to meet a constitutional standard? Discussed in Welsch v. Likins, 550 F. 2d 1122 (1977).

(5) A state agency was justified under the circumstances of the case in freezing payment levels to medical assistance vendors when the appropriation for them was reduced by 12 percent from one year to the next. La Cresent Constant Care Center Inc. v. State Department of Public Welfare, 301 Minn. 229, 222 N.W. 2d 87 (1974).

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2. Bonding

(a) General Considerations

Acts to provide for issuance of bonds by the state or its subdivisions have special drafting and practical problems.

The Minnesota Constitution, article XI, regulates state finances and is largely concerned with public debt. A limited list of proper purposes for public debt appears in article XI, section 5. Debt for the state highway system is separately treated in article XIV.

The constitutional restriction on state involvement with internal improvements and the constitutional directive that taxes be used only for public purposes can be discussed together. Any challenge to state debt financing based on either provision usually raises the same central issue. The issue is whether the state financing authorized by the law in question is related to an activity appropriate for state government involvement. This same issue arises from both provisions because the courts have carved out an exception to the "internal improvements" prohibition which goes beyond the specific exceptions listed in article XI, section 5, of Minnesota's Constitution. The courts have generally upheld state involvement in public works used by and for the state in the performance of its "governmental functions. " The determination of what is or is not a "governmental function" is closely aligned with a determination of whether or not the expenditure is for a public purpose.

In a series of early decisions based on the internal improvements clause, for example, the courts approved state financing of state universities, penitentiaries, reformatories, asylums, quarantine buildings, and the like, because they were for the purposes of education, the prevention of crime, charity, and the preservation of public health. More recent court decisions have upheld government financing of terminal port facilities, Visina v. Freeman, 252 Minn. 177, 89 N.W. 2d 635 (1958); water pollution control facilities, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency v. Hatfield, 294 Minn. 260, 200 N.W. 2d 572 (1972); low and moderate-income housing, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency v. Hatfield, 297 Minn. 155, 210 N.W. 2d 298 (1973); and a multipurpose sports facility, Lifteau v. Metropolitan Sports Facilities Comm'n., 270 N.W. 2d 749 (Minn. 1978). Lifteau questioned the "public purpose" of a municipal financing scheme, but the court's view about whether a "public purpose" was served would also be applicable to a state scheme of financing.

Perhaps the best statement of the law regarding the determination of public purpose is in the Visina decision. In that case the court set forth the following principles as controlling in cases of this type: (1) the state or its municipal subdivisions or agencies may expend public money only for a public purpose; (2) a "public purpose" is an activity that will serve as a benefit to the community as a body and which, at the same time, is directly related to the functions of government; (3) a legislative declaration of public purpose is not always controlling; in the final analysis, the courts must make the determination; and (4) the mere fact that some private interests may derive an incidental benefit from the activity does not deprive the activity of its public nature if its primary purpose is public; on the other hand, if the primary object is to promote some private end, the expenditure is illegal, although it may incidentally also serve some public purpose. Visina 252 Minn. at 184, 89 N.W. 2d at 643.

The court also recognizes the changing nature of what is a public purpose. In the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency case, the plaintiff attempted to argue that the state could only provide low-income housing at public expense since that was what was approved in Thomas v. Housing & Redevelopment Authority of Duluth, 234 Minn.221, 48 N.W. 2d 175 (1951). Since the law in the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency case provided for housing at public expense for both low and moderate income persons, plaintiff argued that the law was now too broad and no longer served a "public purpose." The court disagreed, saying:

The major difference between the statute under consideration in the instant case and that upheld in Thomas is that we now are called upon to consider provisions for construction of housing for families or individuals with moderate incomes as well as for those with low incomes. This distinction is more a product of the changing conditions, however, than of a change in the "public" nature of the activity. This concept of evolving public uses was recognized in State ex rel. Twin City B. & I. Co. v. Houghton,144 Minn. 1, 174 N.W. 885 (1919), 144 Minn. 13, 16; 176 N.W. 159, 161, (1920):

The notion of what is public use changes from time to time. Public use expands with the new needs created by the advance of civilization and the modern tendency of the people to crowd into large cities. Such a taking as here proposed could not possibly have been thought a taking for public use at the time of the adoption of our Constitution when the state was practically a wilderness without a single city worthy of the name." The term ‘public use’ is flexible, and cannot be limited to the public use kn own at the time of the forming of the Constitution. " Stewart v. Great Northern Ry. Co. , 65 Minn. 515, 68 N.W. 208, 33 L. R. A. 427. What constitutes a public use at the time it is sought to exercise the power of eminent domain is the test. The Constitution is as it was when adopted, but, when it employs terms which change in definition as conditions change, it refers to them in the sense in which they are meant when the protection of the Constitution is sought. Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, 297 Minn. at 168, 210 N.W. 2d at 306. Accord, Housing & Redevelopment Authority of St. Paul v. Greenman, 255 Minn. 396, 96 N.W. 2d 673 (1959).

When, as the trial court found, the cost of housing has risen so that even moderate-income families find themselves priced out of the housing market, it would seem that the instant case falls fully within the public purpose found in Thomas.

It is also important to note that in Lifteau the court reaffirmed an earlier holding that the concept of "public purpose" is elastic and will change as economic and social conditions change. "Governmental function" probably has the same elasticity of definition.

If it is anticipated that a new program that requires public debt will be challenged in court, a policy statement or legislative findings or both may be useful in defense. For example, section 462A.02 of the Housing Finance Agency Law of 1971, which was cited extensively by the Lifteau court. It states the rationale for the housing law as follows:

It is hereby found and declared that as a result of public actions involving highways, public facilities and urban renewal activities, and as a result of the spread of deteriorated housing and blight to formerly sound urban and rural neighborhoods, and as a result of the inability of private enterprise and investment to produce without public assistance a sufficient supply of decent, safe and sanitary residential dwellings at prices and rentals which persons and families of low and moderate income can afford, there exists within the state of Minnesota a serious shortage of decent, safe and sanitary housing at prices or rentals within the means of persons and families of low and moderate income.

[T]his shortage of housing . . . is inimical to the safety, health, morals and welfare of the residents of the state and to the sound growth and development of its communities. Minn. Stat., sec. 462A.02.

The section also includes additional legislative findings about housing conditions in Minnesota.

Statements of policies or legislative findings are not necessary or desirable for bills in which the propriety of governmental involvement is certain.

A drafter should also be aware of the following statement by the Minnesota Supreme Court in the Visina case:

"In determining whether an act of the state constitutes a performance of a governmental function or a public purpose which will justify expenditure of public money, a legislative declaration of public purpose is not always controlling. The determination of what is and what is not a public purpose, or performance of a governmental function, initially is for the legislature but in the final analysis must rest with the courts." Visina, 252 Minn. at 184, 89 N.W. 2d at 643.

If statements of policies or findings are used, therefore, they should be written without resort merely to catchall phrasing, such as" for the public welfare." If a court must be convinced that the activity is for a public purpose or in performance of a governmental function, policy statements, or legislative findings should delineate specific reasons necessitating state involvement.

Innovations to state and local government debt financing are made to accomplish an untried purpose for an issue, to vary the nature or priority of the issuer's obligation to pay, or to meet changes in economic conditions or federal law. Innovations should be minimized and requesters advised of the likely problems. Unless specifically instructed to the contrary by a requester, the drafter's goal is to ensure the salability of the bonds, and to do that, it is best to follow the pattern of existing Minnesota laws.

Bond issues by subdivisions of the state are governed by various general laws. Minnesota Statutes, chapter 475, is basic. Chapters 472, 472A, and 474 have important purposes. There are also many special local laws.

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(b) Method of Drafting Bonding Bills

A basic consideration in all bond law drafting is, "Will someone buy the bonds?" Bond issues are usually managed and the bonds sold or resold by investment bankers. The bankers are advised by their lawyers about the legality of the bonds and, to some extent, about the practical ability of the issuer to pay them. It is often helpful to consult a bond lawyer at an early stage.

When examining a bonding bill, bond lawyers look primarily at four areas which are chief considerations in selling bonds.

First, the authority to issue bonds must be constitutionally and legally clear. Even a possibility that someone will attack a bond issue in court makes investors reluctant.

Second, the procedure required to issue the bonds must be clear. This includes clarity as to any requirement for public hearings and a vote by local electors. If a necessary step is omitted the issuance could be invalid. Bond legislation should make clear all the necessary steps to issue the bonds. This often includes stated cross-references to other laws with which there must be compliance. Often the entire process is identified by reference to other laws. For example:

1      Sec. 9. [BOND SALE; DEBT SERVICE.]

2 To provide the money appropriated by this act from the bond

3 Proceeds fund the commissioner of finance upon request of the

4 governor shall sell and issue bonds of the state in an amount up

5 to $14,615,000 in the manner, upon the terms, and with the

6 effect prescribed by Minnesota Statutes, sections 16A.631 to

7 16A.675, and by the Minnesota Constitution, article XI, sections

8 4 to 7.

This is a familiar and sufficient pattern for state building bonds.

Third, the bond issue must be free of other legal prohibitions or restraints. Specifically, it must be clear that the amount of bonds to be issued is within any constitutional or legal bonding limits or is an exception to the bonding limits. It must also be clear that the purpose for which the proceeds of bonds will be used is otherwise legal and constitutional. The drafter must be sure that the bond issue does not run afoul of article XI, section 3, of the Constitution or other prohibitions.

Fourth, the method by which the bonds will be paid must be clear. Preferably, it should be clear that the governmental unit issuing the bonds is obliged to pay the debt service on the bonds before any of its other debts are paid. It should also be clear that the governmental unit either has sufficient revenue to pay the debt service or an easy means at its disposal to raise additional revenue to do so.

See examples of typical bonding bills which demonstrate these considerations.

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(c) Specific Problem Areas

New political subdivisions are sometimes created to accomplish a limited purpose and are given bonding authority to accomplish that purpose. A weakness of some new subdivisions is a lack of financial resources, usually taxing authority, to discharge their purpose. When creating a new subdivision with bonding authority, the drafter should try to follow the pattern of a successful existing subdivision.

New political subdivisions are sometimes created to avoid bonding limitations on existing units of government.

Conventional local government bodies are regular issuers of bonds and often desire to vary one or more of the procedures or restrictions provided by general law. A volume of session laws may have several laws changing the conditions for particular bonds of particular local government bodies. Waivers of debt limits or popular vote requirements are frequent.

Public bond laws are also conditioned by federal tax exemption provisions. A bond issue to build a state capitol will probably always have federal tax exemption, but at the frontier of the subject there is constant tension between the federal revenue loss and the ingenuity of the borrowers. The drafter needs to know that a bond issue will be exempt from federal income tax, but it is not always possible to be certain.

Mastery of this specialized part of public law may require more time than most drafters can give it. Consultation with available sources of information can make it manageable. Minnesota last defaulted on state bonds about 130 years ago. The state needed 110 years to recover the best credit rating and lost it again after about five more. Although institutional obstacles now exist to make unlikely a default like that after the railroad boom of the 1850's, careful drafting remains fundamental to avoid long and short term ill effects.

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(d) Terminology in Conversation

Classes of bonds are identified in conversation by a great variety of adjectives. The most basic is "general obligation" or "G. O." This term means that the full faith and credit and taxing power of the issuer is pledged to their payment. General obligation bonds sell at the best interest rates if there is taxing power to back them. "Revenue" bonds are secured only by revenue from some publicly operated or financed project, for example, a municipal liquor store or rents from public housing. Revenue bonds usually pay a higher interest rate. "Moral obligation" bonds have nothing pledged to their payment, but the issuer inspires confidence, like the State of New York. With the moral obligation bond we take a long step into the paradoxical higher terminology of bonds, "the limited general obligation bond," "the revenue bond with a G. O. pledge," the "moral obligation revenue bond," etc. The drafter, the lawyer, and the investor should ignore this jargon and find out what is actually going on from the laws themselves.

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3. Crimes and the Courts

In order to draft legislation in the criminal justice area, the drafter should develop an overview of Minnesota criminal, correctional, and related bodies of law and become familiar with the agencies of the criminal justice system. In addition, the drafter should be aware that many executive branch agencies have units with separate criminal justice functions; for example, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Revenue.

In attempting to generate legislative solutions to crime control problems, the drafter will often discover that identification of applicable statutory or administrative law is merely a starting place. The drafter will have to be able to trace the processing of criminal offenders through a maze of laws, rules, agencies, and programs before attempting to come up with a legislative solution to a crime control problem.

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(a) Substantive Law of Crimes

Minnesota's substantive law of crimes is found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 609, the Criminal Code of 1963. The code is a comprehensive revision of substantive criminal law. Most legislation in the area of crimes involves amendment to the criminal code.

There are no common law crimes in Minnesota. Minnesota Statutes, section 609.015, subdivision 1, provides: "Common law crimes are abolished and no act or omission is a crime unless made so by this chapter or by other applicable statute...."

In addition to the main body of substantive crimes found in the criminal code, enactments creating crimes are scattered throughout the statutes. These crimes range from prohibition of greased pig contests, section 346.34, to the law of obscenity, sections 617.23 to 617.297. In recent years consumer legislation, much of it found in chapter 325, has often included regulatory penalty provisions.

The fate of the drunken driver is governed by a maze of civil and criminal provisions:

169.121 DWI (driving while intoxicated)
169.123 Implied consent laws
169.1211 Alcohol-related driving by commercial vehicle drivers
69.1215 Out-of-service orders
169.129 Aggravated violations
169.90 Aiding and abetting
169.901 Employment of intemperate drivers
219.566 Intoxication of employees on trains or boats
192A.555 Drunken or reckless driving under Uniform Code of Military Justice
84.91 Operation of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances
84.911 Chemical testing (the snowmobile/ATV implied consent statute)
84.928, subdivision 3 Operating an ATV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances
86B.331 Operating motorboats while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs or with a physical or mental disability
86B.335 Testing for alcohol and controlled substances (motorboat implied consent law)
97B.065 Hunting while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
97B.066 Chemical testing (hunting)
360.0752 Aircraft operators under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
360.0753 Testing procedures (aircraft implied consent law)
340A.502 and 340A.503 Sales of liquor to intoxicated persons; persons under age of 21 years
171.171 Drivers' license suspensions for illegal purchase of alcoholic beverages
609.21 Criminal vehicular operation
634.15 and 634.16 Admission of evidence

A juvenile under the age of 18 who is alleged to have committed a crime can either be tried in juvenile court or be referred to adult court. Juvenile court procedures and dispositions are governed by chapter 260 (Juvenile Court Act) and the rules of procedure for juvenile court.

When a juvenile is alleged to have violated a criminal law, the juvenile court may refer the juvenile to criminal court under the reference law found in section 260.125. Reference to a regular criminal court may be made if the court finds that: (1) there is probable cause to believe the child committed the offense alleged by the delinquency petition; and (2) the prosecuting authority has demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the juvenile is not suitable for treatment or that public safety is not served by the law relating to juvenile courts. A prima facie case that the public safety is not served or that the juvenile is not suitable to treatment can be established through use of the juvenile's age at the time of the offense, presently charged offense, and prior record.

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(b) Law of Criminal Procedure

McCarr, Minnesota Practice, Criminal Law and Procedure, 2d edition, volume 7, section 1, states: "Criminal practice and procedure in Minnesota is governed by the United States Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution, enactments of the Minnesota Legislature, decisions of the United States and Minnesota Supreme Courts, and of the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Rules of Criminal Procedure. Criminal practice is also affected by the Minnesota Rules of Evidence."

The enabling legislation for the Rules of Criminal Procedure is Minnesota Statutes, section 480.059. An advisory committee appointed by the Supreme Court and composed of attorneys and judges drafted the rules.

Laws 1974, chapter 390, amended the enabling legislation to provide that except for certain designated statutes the new rules would supersede conflicting statutory law.

Minnesota Statutes, section 480.059, subdivision 8, provides: "This section shall not abridge the right of the legislature to enact, modify, or repeal any statute or modify or repeal any rule of the supreme court adopted pursuant thereto."

The history of the uneasy relationship between court provided and statutory rules of procedure is fully reviewed by Pirsig and Tietjens, "Court Procedure and the Separation of Powers in Minnesota," 15 William Mitchell Law Review 141 (1989). The more recent developments tend to favor the authority of the courts but the difficult distinction between procedure and substance does not lend itself to a final conclusive statement. Also, criminal procedure can raise the question of authority in an acute form, for example, in disagreement over control of the order of final arguments.

If requested to draft legislation relating to criminal procedure, the drafter should first locate the governing statute or rule. Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 480.059, subdivision 7, the Supreme Court has published a list of statutes which have been modified or superseded by the Rules of Criminal Procedure. The list appears in an appendix to the Rules of Criminal Procedure. Some statutes have been completely superseded while some statutes have only been superseded "to the extent inconsistent." The drafter can locate statutes by use of the statutory index found in Minnesota Statutes and locate rules by using the index to the Rules of Criminal Procedure found in Minnesota Statutes, volume 15.

Second, upon location of a statute or rule, the drafter should consult the list of superseded statutes.

Third, if the drafter finds that a statute has been completely superseded by a rule, the obsolete statute may be repealed and a bill for a new statute drafted indicating that the new statute is intended to supersede the rule. If the drafter finds a statute has been only superseded in part by a rule, the statute may be amended but care should be taken to preserve the unsuperseded part of the statute to the extent that to do so is consistent with the amendment. Of course, the drafter must always take into account the applicable rule and might find it advisable, for purposes of clarity and notice, to make reference to the rule.

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(c) State Components of Criminal Justice System

The drafter should be familiar with executive branch criminal justice agencies and their programs. The agencies are listed below along with a brief description of their criminal justice functions and the statute or statutes relevant to their activities.

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(1) Department of Public Safety.

(a) Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The bureau's chief criminal justice function is to assist local enforcement agencies in investigations of major crimes including illegal sale or possession of prohibited drugs, homicide, and organized crime. In addition, the bureau is involved in collecting criminal statistics, peace officer training, scientific analysis of evidence, and maintaining a criminal justice information system. The bureau also annually publishes a crime report which describes changes in the volume and rate of reported crimes for Minnesota in the year of issuance. See Minnesota Statutes, chapter 299C, especially section 299C.03. The bureau's services include the following elements.

  1. Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), a computerized data communications system which indexes criminal justice information relating to crimes.

  2. BCA Forensic Science Laboratory which provides services in the following areas: microanalysis of trace evidence, firearms and toolmarks, serial number restoration, questioned documents, forensic photography, forensic toxicology, latent fingerprints, drug identification, alcohol analysis of blood and urine, arson analysis, and breath testing.

  3. The Investigative Division provides investigative services in such areas as narcotics trafficking, surveillance, homicide, child abuse, financial and white collar crimes, and other crimes against persons and property.

  4. The Training and Development Section conducts specialized training for law enforcement offices throughout the state in subjects such as narcotics, child abuse and exploitation, criminal investigations, evidence collection, arson, and supervision and management.

(b) Division of Highway Patrol. The highway patrol's criminal justice functions include enforcement of traffic laws on state trunk highways and the serving of warrants. Patrol officers may make arrests for public offenses committed in their presence anywhere in the state. See Minnesota Statutes, chapter 299D.

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(2) Office of the Attorney General.

The Criminal Division of the attorney general's office prosecutes criminal cases upon the request of the governor or any county attorney. The division also handles criminal appeals and is involved with the prosecution of organized and white collar crimes. The environmental crimes team (E-team) investigates and prosecutes polluters. See Minnesota Constitution, article V, and Minnesota Statutes, chapter 8.

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(3) County Attorneys' Council.

The council is a statutorily created service and planning agency designed to improve the quality of legal services of county attorneys' offices. In the area of criminal justice, the council has developed peace officer training materials and keeps county attorneys current with changes in criminal law. The council also directly participates in the legislative process in order to assure that the prosecutors' viewpoint is considered with respect to criminal justice legislation. See Minnesota Statutes, sections 388.19 and 388.20.

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(4) Department of Corrections.

A sentence of a person to imprisonment for more than one year results in commitment to the commissioner of corrections. See Minnesota Statutes, section 609.105. In addition, the juvenile court in its discretion may commit children adjudicated delinquent under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 260, the Juvenile Courts Act, to the commissioner. See Minnesota Statutes, section 260.185. The mission of the department is to protect society and to attempt to rehabilitate offenders.

The Department of Corrections operates correctional facilities for adult felons and facilities for juveniles. The department administers the community corrections act under which the commissioner awards grants to counties. Under the act participating counties operate local correctional services, including crime prevention, probation and parole, and detention centers.

The office of adult release in the Department of Corrections is responsible for granting parole and work release and for revoking parole, work release, and supervised release. The drafter should consult Minnesota Rules, chapter 2940, for the duties of the office of adult release.

The Department of Corrections also administers many programs relating to offender rehabilitation and victim services. In the area of victim services, there are victim crisis centers and programs for battered women and victims of sexual assault. Matters relating to victim services, programs, and rights are codified in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 611A.

Organizational and other law related to the Department of Corrections appears in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 241 (organizational provisions); chapter 242 (juvenile corrections); chapter 243 (adult corrections); chapter 244 (criminal sentences); and chapter 401A (community corrections).

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(5) Ombudsman for Corrections.

The ombudsman investigates complaints made about the actions of state and local agencies involved with corrections. The ombudsman has considerable investigative powers and can act as an inmate's advocate. The ombudsman serves an oversight function with respect to the correctional process in Minnesota. See Minnesota Statutes, sections 611A.72 to 611A.75.

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(6) Board of Pardons.

The board consists of the governor, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the attorney general. The board may grant absolute pardons and conditional pardons, and commute the sentence of any person convicted of a criminal offense against the laws of the state of Minnesota. The board can also grant a pardon extraordinary to a previously convicted person who has been discharged from the sentence imposed and has been law abiding for a reasonable period of time after the discharge. A pardon extraordinary has the effect of setting aside and nullifying a conviction and purging an individual's record. The commissioner of the Department of Corrections or the commissioner's designee is secretary to the board. See Minnesota Statutes, chapter 638, and Minnesota Rules, chapter 6600.

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(7) Crime Victim and Witness Advisory Council.

The council, among other duties, provides information, training, and technical assistance to state and local victim witness service agencies and advocates necessary changes in the way victims are treated by the criminal justice system. See Minnesota Statutes, section 611A.71.

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(8) Crime Victims Reparations Board.

The board pays reparations to victims of crime. The payments are limited to persons who have suffered personal injury. See Minnesota Statutes, chapter 298B.

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(9) Minnesota public defender; district public defenders.

The state public defender provides representation to indigents in criminal appeals to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. The state public defender also represents inmates in correctional disciplinary hearings. District public defenders provide representation to indigents at all stages of the criminal justice process up to and including trial. See Minnesota Statutes, sections 611.22 to 611.25.

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(10) Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training.

The board regulates Minnesota's peace officer training and licensure requirements. The board also establishes standards of professional conduct for the law enforcement profession. See Minnesota Statutes, chapters 214 and 367, and sections 626.84 to 626.855, and Minnesota Rules, parts 6700.0100 to 6700.2704.

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(11) Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

Minnesota Statutes, sections 244.01 to 244.18, establishes a sentencing guidelines commission composed of members of the judiciary, other members of the criminal justice system, and the public. See Minnesota Statutes, section 244.09, subdivision 1. In 1978, the commission was assigned the task of promulgating sentencing guidelines for offenders which would be advisory to the district court and subject to review by the Supreme Court. See Minnesota Statutes, section 244.09, subdivision 5.

The commission developed guidelines based upon an appropriate combination of offender and offense characteristics. The commission's report was submitted to the 1980 legislature and the guidelines became effective May 1, 1980. See Minnesota Statutes, section 244.09, subdivision 12.

The legislative intent of the guidelines' legislation was to establish fixed presumptive sentences for felons which would reduce disparity in sentences.

Persons convicted of felonies are sentenced to fixed sentences. In place of sentencing a convicted offender to an indeterminate term ranging from zero to five years, for example, a court will now sentence a person to a fixed term of years.

Judges may depart from the presumptive sentences only if they find "substantial and compelling" reasons to do so in individual cases. See Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines and Commentary, article II, D. Defendants and prosecutors may appeal sentences to the Court of Appeals. See Minnesota Statutes, section 244.11.

Minnesota Statutes, section 244.09, subdivision 11, provides that major modifications of the guidelines must be submitted to the legislature by January 1 of any year in which the commission wants to make the change. Unless the legislature provides by law otherwise, the change to the guidelines become effective August 1 of that year.

The commission monitors and modifies the guidelines and evaluates their effectiveness.

Minnesota Statutes, section 244.101, establishes a new felony sentencing system effective for offenses committed on or after August 1, 1993, under which an offender receives a two-part sentence consisting of a specified minimum term of imprisonment and a specified maximum supervised release term that is one-half of the minimum term of imprisonment. "Good time reduction" of sentence is no longer available.

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(d) Local Components of the Criminal Justice System

At the state level of the criminal justice system, the agencies generally are found in the executive branch of government. At the local level of the criminal justice system, the criminal justice functions are divided and decentralized due to the historical evolution of the various agencies.

In drafting criminal legislation that will affect a class of offenders, for example, the drafter should be sensitive to the nuances of the relationships between the local agencies. The drafter should be aware of separation of powers problems; local fiscal restraints; differential perception of goals by the various agencies; and intangible elements derived from the political environment.

Local agencies are listed below along with a brief description of their criminal justice functions and the statutes relevant to their activities.

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(1) Police Services.

Agencies that provide police services are generally a part of local government.

(a) County sheriff. A county sheriff has the duty to preserve the peace of the county and generally to enforce criminal laws outside the municipalities that have police departments. The sheriff may contract with units of local government to provide police service. In larger municipalities, the law enforcement duties of the sheriff are limited. See Minnesota Statutes, chapter 387, and section 436.05.

(b) Local police.

(i) Home rule charter cities. The organization of a charter city police department is governed by the city's charter and ordinances implementing the chapter. See Minnesota Statutes, chapter 410.

(ii) Statutory cities. Any city which has not adopted a home rule charter is governed by a uniform code of statutes defining the organization and powers of the city. Most statutory cities have established police departments by ordinance pursuant to the city council's statutorily specified general welfare power.

In addition, the mayor and council are authorized to act as peace officers under certain circumstances specified by statute. See Minnesota Statutes, sections 412.016, 412.101, and 412.221, subdivision 32.

(iii) Towns. Towns may form law enforcement agencies and appoint law enforcement officers. The positions may be filled by peace officers or part- time peace officers. See Minnesota Statutes, section 367.401.

(c) University of Minnesota peace officers. The University of Minnesota has considerable governmental autonomy. The university has its own peace officers on its campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, and Crookston. University peace officers have full arrest power. See University Charter, section 9; Minnesota Constitution, article XIII, section 3; and Minnesota Statutes, section 137.12.

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(2) Prosecution and Defense Services.

Prosecution services have exhibited the most organizational stability of any criminal justice system component in recent years. The county attorneys' council is perhaps the most innovative recent development in the area of prosecution services. Public defender services have changed considerably in recent years and vary depending upon the needs of each judicial district.

(a) Prosecuting attorneys. Generally, the county attorney prosecutes felonies and, if there is no municipal prosecuting attorney, gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors. Municipal prosecuting attorneys prosecute violations of state law which are gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and violations of municipal charter provisions, ordinances, and rules. For DWI prosecutions, the attorney in the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred who is responsible for misdemeanor prosecutions is also responsible for gross misdemeanor prosecutions. See Minnesota Statutes, section 169.121, subdivision 3.

(b) Public defender system. Minnesota is divided into ten judicial districts. The state board of public defense appoints a chief district public defender for each district who must administer public defender services in the district consistent with standards adopted by the board. See Minnesota Statutes, section 611.26. The district public defenders provide representation from time of arrest through trial. The state board of public defense appoints the state public defender who provides appellate representations for persons who are unable to financially obtain counsel. See Minnesota Statutes, sections 611.23 to 611.25.

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(e) Courts' Role in the Criminal Justice System

The judicial branch of government plays a central role in law enforcement. Judicial involvement in the criminal justice system is comprehensive and complex; it begins with the issuance of arrest and search warrants and proceeds through preliminary criminal proceedings, trial, sentencing, and appeal, including postconviction appeal.

An overview of the courts' role in the criminal justice system requires a coordinated reading of the statutes, Rules of Criminal Procedure, and case law. For a judicial analysis of the Rules of Criminal Procedure in relation to the court's rulemaking authority with respect to its appellate jurisdiction, see State v. Wingo,266 N.W.2d 508 (1978) and State v. Keith, 325 N.W.2d 641 (1982).

Criminal jurisdiction in the courts is as follows:

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(1) Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has jurisdiction of criminal appeals in cases in which the defendant has been convicted of murder in the first degree. The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction of all other criminal appeals, but the Supreme Court may review any decision of the Court of Appeals.

See Minnesota Constitution, article VI, section 2, and Minnesota Statutes, sections 480A.06, subdivision 1, and 480A.10, subdivision 1. Rule 29 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure governs criminal appeals to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has adopted rules of evidence regulating evidentiary matters in civil and criminal actions in all courts of the state pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 480.0591.

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(2) Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals has criminal jurisdiction in all criminal appeals except when the defendant has been convicted of murder in the first degree. See Minnesota Statutes, section 480A.06, subdivision 1. The Supreme Court may grant further review of any decision of the Court of Appeals under certain circumstances. See Minnesota Statutes, section 480A.10, subdivision 1, and Supreme Court, supra. Rule 28 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure governs criminal appeals to the Court of Appeals.

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(3) District Court.

The district court has original criminal jurisdiction in all criminal matters.

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(f) Summary of Statutes and Rules

A summary of statutes and court and administrative rules governing criminal and juvenile justice matters is listed below to assist drafters to locate a relevant statute or rule. After locating the appropriate set of statutes or rules, the drafter can skim the table of headnotes to locate a specific statute or rule number. All of the material cited in this summary can be found in Minnesota Statutes or Minnesota Rules. Minnesota court rules can be found in Minnesota Statutes, volume 15.

Substantive Law of Crimes

Chapter 609 Criminal Code of 1963
Chapter 617 Abortion; Obscenity; Houses of Ill-fame
Chapter 624 Crimes; Other Provisions
Chapter 152 Prohibited Drugs
Chapter 169 Highway Traffic Regulation

Statutes Governing Criminal Procedures

Chapter 589 Habeas Corpus
Chapter 590 Postconviction Remedy
Chapter 611 Rights of Accused
Chapter 611A Rights of Victims of Crimes
Chapter 626 Training; Investigation, Apprehension; Reports
Chapter 626A Privacy of Communications
Chapter 627 Jurisdiction
Chapter 628 Accusation
Chapter 629 Extradition, Detainers, Arrest, Bail
Chapter 630 Pretrial Procedure
Chapter 631 Trial, Judgment, Sentence
Chapter 632 Appeals, Writs of Error

Court Rules Governing Criminal Procedure

Rules of Criminal Procedure
Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines
Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure

Statutes and Court Rules Governing Evidentiary Matters

Rules of Evidence

Chapter 595 Witnesses
Chapter 599 Judicial Notice, Proof; Judicial Records, Decisions
Chapter 60 Lost Instruments
Chapter 602 Competent Evidence
Chapter 634 Special Rules; Evidence; Privileges, Witnesses

Statutes and Court Rules Governing Juvenile Justice Matters

Rules of Procedure for Juvenile Court

Chapter 260 Juvenile Court Act
Chapter 636 Juvenile Offenders

Statutes and Administrative Rules Governing Corrections


Chapter 241 Department of Corrections
Chapter 242 Corrections, Youth
Chapter 243 Corrections, Adult
Chapter 244 Criminal Sentences, Conditions, Duration, Appeals
Chapter 401 Community Corrections
Chapter 641 County Jails
Chapter 642 Lockups
Chapter 643 Work Farms

Administrative Rules

Chapter 2900 Rules Governing the Construction of New Corrections Facilities
Chapter 2905 Rules Governing the Community Corrections Act
Chapter 2910 Rules Governing Adult Detention Facilities
Chapter 2915 Rules Governing Programs and Services for Battered Women
Chapter 2920 Rules Governing Adult Halfway Houses
Chapter 2925 Rules Governing Group Foster Homes
Chapter 2930 Rules Governing Secure Juvenile Detention Facilities
Chapter 2935 Rules Governing Juvenile Residential Facilities
Chapter 2940 Rules Governing the Office of Adult Release

Criminal Justice Agencies

Chapter 299A Department of Public Safety
Chapter 299B Crime Victims Reparations
Chapter 299C Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Chapter 299D State Patrol
Chapter 299L Gambling Enforcement
Chapter 387 Sheriff
Chapter 388 County Attorney
Chapter 638 Board of Pardons

Miscellaneous Administrative Rules Pertinent to Criminal Justice

Board of Pardons

Chapter 6600 Procedural Rules

Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training

Chapter 6700 Training and Licensing Rules

Minnesota Board of Pharmacy

Chapter 6800 Rules of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Chapter 7500 Explosives and Blasting Agents
Chapter 7501 Preliminary Screening Breath Test Devices
Chapter 7502 Training for Intoxication Testing
Chapter 7503 Incidents for License Revocation

Crime Victims Reparation Board

Chapter 7505 Hearing Procedures

A Bibliographic Research Guide

The person who drafts in the criminal justice area should be aware of available research material. This brief bibliography is designed to direct and enhance basic criminal justice research.

Substantive Criminal Law

LaFave, Wayne R. and Austin W. Scott, Jr. Substantive Criminal Law, 2 Vols. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1986.

Minnesota District Judges Association. Minnesota Practice, Jury Instruction Guides Criminal, 3rd Edition, Vols. 10 and 10A. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1990.

McCarr, Henry W. Minnesota Practice, Criminal Law and Procedure, Vol. 9. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1990.

Criminal Procedure

LaFave, Wayne R. and Jerold H. Israel, Criminal Procedure, 2 Vols. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1984.

McCarr, Henry W. Minnesota Practice, Criminal Law and Procedure, Vols. 7 and 8. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1984.

Sonsteng, John O. and Robert Scott, Minnesota Practice, Juvenile Law and Practice,Vols. 12 and 13. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1985.

Stenberg, Julie, ed. , Minnesota Judges Criminal Benchbook, Minnesota Supreme Court Judicial Planning Committee, 1990.

Federal Criminal Code and Rules, 1991 Revised Edition. St. Paul: West Publishing Co.


Knapp, Kay A., Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines and Commentary Annotated. St. Paul: CLE Press, 1985.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual,1992 Edition. St. Paul: West Publishing Co.

Hutchinson, Thomas W. and David Yeller, Federal Sentencing Law and Practice. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1989.

Research Publications

The House Research Department has published briefs and reports relating to criminal justice that the drafter will find valuable as a research resource.

Overview of the Child Abuse Reporting Act by Deborah K. McKnight (Information Brief), 1988.

Reference of Juveniles to Adult Court by Emily Shapiro (Policy Brief), 1989.

Comparison of the 1985 and 1990 DWI Surveys by Jim Cleary, Emily Shapiro, and John Williams (Research Report), 1992.

Minnesota Juvenile Residential Facilities: A Description by Mary Jane Lehnertz (Information Brief), 1992.

Prenatal Exposure to Controlled Substances by Emily Shapiro and Deborah McKnight (Information Brief), 1991.

Minnesota's DWI Law: Recent Constitutional Law Developments by Emily Shapiro (Case Brief), 1991.

Crime Victims Legislation in Minnesota: An Overview by Emily Shapiro (Information Brief), 1991.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is a federal agency in criminal justice research. The May/June 1992 National Institute of Justice Catalog describes its publications as:

The bimonthly Catalog contains information on criminal justice publications and other materials available from NIJ's information clearinghouse, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), and other sources. The Journal presents articles on research and development programs of the National Institute of Justice, as well as topics of interest from other Department of Justice agencies.

The National Institute of Justice Catalog is sent free to all registered users of the National Institute of Justice/NCJRS. To become a registered user, write National Institute of Justice/NCJRS User Services, Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20850, or call 800-851-3420.

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4. Special Laws

(a) Prohibition

The Minnesota Constitution contains a variety of prohibitions and restrictions on special laws.

Article XII, section 1, states:

In all cases when a general law can be made applicable, a special law shall not be enacted except as provided in section 2. Whether a general law could have been made applicable in any case shall be judicially determined without regard to any legislative assertion on that subject. The legislature shall pass no local or special law authorizing the laying out, opening, altering, vacating or maintaining of roads, highways, streets or alleys; remitting fines, penalties or forfeitures; changing the names of persons, places, lakes or rivers; authorizing the adoption or legitimation of children; changing the law of descent or succession; conferring rights on minors; declaring any named person of age; giving effect to informal or invalid wills or deeds, or affecting the estates of minors or persons under disability; granting divorces; exempting property from taxation or regulating the rate of interest on money; creating private corporations, or amending, renewing, or extending the charters thereof; granting to any private corporation, association, or individual any special or exclusive privilege, immunity or franchise whatever or authorizing public taxation for a private purpose. The inhibitions of local or special laws in this section shall not prevent the passage of general laws on any of the subjects enumerated.

The public policy against special legislation also appears in the prohibition of bills of attainder, article I, section 11, and the requirement that taxes be uniform on the same class of objects, article X, section 1.

Article XII, section 1, draws a distinction between general legislation and special legislation and, except when one of its provisions allows, it prohibits all special legislation. It is important, therefore, for a drafter to know how the courts have defined "special laws" and "general laws."

Almost all legislation sets up classes and affects people and other entities differently depending on their class (e. g. taxpayers with different incomes, disabled persons, cities of the third class, psychiatrists). These kinds of classifications usually mean the laws are not "special laws."

A law which does not apply to everyone will be deemed "special" only if it applies to a particular member of a class, or if the classification made is arbitrary and not germane to the purpose of the law. As one court stated:

The classification must be based upon "substantial distinctions" - those which make one class really different from another. The distinction must be based "on some natural reason, - some reason suggested by necessity, by some difference in the situation and circumstances of the subjects placed in the different classes, suggesting the necessity of different legislation with respect to them." Visina v. Freeman, 252 Minn. 177, 197, 89 N.W. 2d 635, 651 (1958).

A law remains "general," then, even when it divides the subjects of its operation into classes and applies different rules to different classes as long as the classification made is a proper one and the law applies to every member of the class. Even one alone may constitute a class. The fewer there are in a class, however, the more closely will courts scrutinize an act to see if its classification constitutes an evasion of the Constitution. Minneapolis Gas Company v. L. P. Zimmerman, 2 53 Minn. 164, 91 N.W. 2d 642 (1958).

Even after strict scrutiny a statute will not be held invalid as "special" legislation unless it appears very clearly that the basis of classification is purely arbitrary. Arens v. Village of Rogers, 240 Minn. 386, 61 N.W. 2d 508, appeal dismissed 347 U. S. 949 (1954).

The following types of statutes have been voided because they constituted "special" legislation with arbitrary classifications:

  1. A statute related to bridges in counties with populations between 28,000 and 28,500. State v. Mower County, 185 Minn. 390, 241 N.W. 60 (1932);

  2. A statute related to liquor stores in cities of the fourth class situated in a county having between 100 and 110 congressional townships and having a population of 13,000 to 15,000. State ex rel. Paff v. Kelley, 235 Minn. 350, 50 N.W. 2d, 703 (1952); and

  3. A statute providing for a county examiner of townships in counties having a population of over 100,000 and an area of more than 5,000 square miles. State v. Wasgatt, 114 Minn. 78, 130 N.W. 76 (1911).

Statutes which have been upheld when challenged as special legislation included the following types of classes:

  1. Unorganized territories having assessed valuation over $3 million and area greater than 3,500 square miles (authorizing issuance of school bonds). Board of Education for the Unorganized Territory of St. Louis County v. Borgen, 193 Minn. 525, 259 N.W. 67, (1935);

  2. Any two contiguous cities of the first class (authorizing creation of Metropolitan Airports Commission). Monaghan v. Armatage, 218 Minn. 108, 15 N.W. 2d 241, appeal dismissed 323 U. S. 681 (1945);

  3. Counties with population over 200,000 (juror selection). State v. Wasgatt, 114 Minn. 78, 130 N.W. 76 (1911);

  4. Cities with population over 450,000 (authorizing 1 1/2 mill tax levy for recreational programs). Leighton v. City of Minneapolis, 222 Minn. 523, 25 N.W. 2d 267 (1946); and

  5. Boroughs of not more than 10,000 population (liquor store regulation). Arens v. Village of Rogers, 240 Minn. 386, 61 N.W. 2d 508, appeal dismissed 347 U. S. 949 (1954).

Although the problems these cases dealt with are now largely controlled by article XII, section 2, the opinions show the kind of reasoning that can be expected from the courts.

Drafters should note from the above examples that neither classes with population limits nor classes with limits based on two factors are automatically approved or disapproved. The classification scheme must merely be related to the purpose of the statute. Then the law is general even if the class it applies to is a class with only one member.

Article XII, section 1, permits a special law if a general law cannot be made applicable. Thus, appropriations are constitutional, even appropriations to pay the claims of named individuals. Perhaps because the classification device is used successfully to avoid the limitations of article XII, section 1, this other kind of exception has had less attention.

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(b) Local Laws

The prohibition against special legislation admits an exception for special laws relating to local units of government. Such "local laws" are common.

Article XII, section 2, of the Constitution reads:

Every law which upon its effective date applies to a single local government unit or to a group of such units in a single county or a number of contiguous counties is a special law and shall name the unit or, in the latter case, the counties to which it applies. The legislature may enact special laws relating to local government units, but a special law, unless otherwise provided by general law, shall become effective only after its approval by the affected unit expressed through the voters or the governing body and by such majority as the legislature may direct. Any special law may be modified or superseded by a later home rule charter or amendment applicable to the same local government unit, but this does not prevent the adoption of subsequent laws on the same subject. The legislature may repeal any existing special or local law, but shall not amend, extend or modify any of the same except as provided in this section.

Minnesota Statutes, sections 645.023 and 645.024, were enacted pursuant to the above constitutional provision. They read:


Subdivision 1. A special law enacted pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, article XII, section 2, shall become effective without the approval of any affected local government unit or group of such units in a single county or a number of contiguous counties if the law is in any of the following classes:

(a) A law which enables one or more local government units to exercise authority not granted by general law.

(b) A law which brings a local government unit within the general law by repealing a special law, by removing an exception to the applicability of a general statutory provision, by extending the applicability of a general statutory provision, or by reclassifying local government units.

(c) A law which applies to a single unit or a group of units with a population of more than 1,000,000 people.

Subd. 2. A special law as to which local approval is not required shall become effective on August 1 next following its final enactment, unless a different date is specified in the special law.

Subd. 3. Subdivisions 1 and 2 are applicable to all special laws enacted and to be enacted at the 1967 and all subsequent sessions of the legislature.


Section 645.023 does not apply to a special law which by its own terms becomes effective upon the approval of one or more affected local government units, expressed through the voters or the governing body and by such majority as the special law may direct.

These sections require local approval except in defined situations. The sections apply whether or not the local bill has explicit language on the matter, but the status of the bill is clearer if local approval is either explicitly required or explicitly not required. In the latter case, a reference to the part of section 645.023 that allows the law to take effect without local approval is appropriate. For example, "Under Minnesota Statutes, section 645.023, subdivision 1, clause (a), this section takes effect without local approval."

The legislature has informally requested that drafts of local law bills routinely incorporate some kind of local approval section. The policy is, therefore, to draft each bill for a local law with a local approval section unless the requester specifically asks that the local approval section be omitted.

A local approval section activates the provisions of Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021.


Subdivision 1. A special law as defined in the Minnesota Constitution, article XII, section 2, shall name the local government unit to which it applies. If a special law applies to a group of local government units in a single county or in a number of contiguous counties, it shall be sufficient if the law names the county or counties where the affected units are situated.

Subd. 2. A special law shall not be effective without approval of the local government unit or units affected, except as provided in section 645.023. Approval shall be by resolution adopted by a majority vote of all members of the governing body of the unit unless another method of approval is specified by the particular special law.

Subd. 3. The chief clerical officer of a local government unit shall, as soon as the unit has approved a special law, file with the secretary of state a certificate stating the essential facts necessary to valid approval, including a copy of the resolution of approval or, if submitted to the voters, the number of votes cast for and against approval at the election. The form of the certificate shall be prescribed by the attorney general and copies shall be furnished by the secretary of state. If a local government unit fails to file a certificate of approval before the first day of the next regular session of the legislature, the law is deemed to be disapproved by such unit unless otherwise provided in the special law.

Subd. 4. Laws 1959, chapter 368, does not apply to any special law heretofore enacted, whether or not it has been approved by the local government unit affected, but such unit shall file with the secretary of state a certificate of approval for such law as required in subdivision 3.

Minnesota Statutes, section 645.02, provides, in part, for the effective date for local laws. It reads:

A special law required to be approved by the local government unit affected before it goes into effect becomes effective as to the approving unit the day following the day on which the certificate of approval prescribed by section 645.021 is filed with the secretary of state, unless a later date is specified in the act. When approval of such a special law is required by two or more local government units before it may become effective, the day after the day when the last of the required certificates is filed is the effective date, unless a later date is specified in the act.

Thus, if the bill for a local law is silent, the above provision governs to make it effective on the day following the date on which the certificate of local approval is filed with the secretary of state. However, for the sake of clarity, it is usual to include an effective date which is consistent with section 645.02. A bill may provide a different effective date for a local law if one is needed.

See examples useful in drafting local laws.

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(c) Specific Problem Areas

A county boundary may not be changed or county seat transferred until approved in each county affected by a majority of the voters voting on the question. Minn. Const. , art. XII, sec.3.


Special care should be taken in amending laws applicable to local government units that were enacted prior to the adoption of what is now article XII, section 2 of the Minnesota Constitution. Prior to the time of the adoption of section 2, local government units could not be named by reason of the prohibition against special legislation, and local laws were enacted in the form of a general act (Example: "Any city of the third class having a population of more than 14,000 and less than 15,000 according to the 1950 federal census", etc. ). In amending local laws enacted in the form of a general law, be sure that the law being amended initially applies to the local government unit now being named. In the illustration quoted, the city to which it initially applied may have grown, and in the 1980's its population may be greater than 15,000. In an amendment, the quoted language should be stricken and the name of the city inserted. For an example, see Laws 1982, chapter 506. If the drafter cannot determine with certainty the local government unit to which the initial law applied, it should not be amended; but, rather, a new special law naming the unit to which it applies should be drafted.

Article XII, section 2, requires that the local special law name the unit affected and that, if several units are affected, they be in the same or contiguous counties. The contiguous counties requirement is sometimes overlooked but the constitutional requirement admits no exceptions, and if it is overlooked, the intended laws will not survive a challenge.



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(d) Laws Relating to Specific Courts

A law relating to a specific court is a special law under authority of article VI (the judicial article), of the Constitution and not under the authority of article XII. A court is not a local government unit and a law affecting the court cannot be made effective upon approval by that court as the "local government unit."

Furthermore, no bill prepared pursuant to the authority of the judicial article of the Minnesota Constitution can depend on the approval of the county board of supervisors, city council, or other governmental unit. A bill under the authority of the judicial article should not be prepared with local approval required unless the requester insists.


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5. Taxes

(a) Constitutional Considerations

The inherent power of the legislature to tax is very broad and is subject only to constitutional limitations. In re Petition of S.R.A., Inc. , 213 Minn. 487, 7 N.W. 2d 484 (1942). Article X of the Minnesota Constitution contains several special limitations on the power to tax.

First, taxes must be levied for a public purpose. See section 2(m) of this chapter for a discussion of the public purpose doctrine.

Second, taxes must be uniform upon the same class of subjects. This clause has been held to be no more restrictive than the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution. Contos v. Herbst, 278 N.W. 2d 732 (Minn. 1979); Rio Vista Non-Profit Housing Corp. v. Ramsey County, 335 N.W. 2d 242 (1983). The legislature has considerable discretion in determining classifications for tax purposes. Little Earth of United Tribes, Inc. v. Hennepin County, 384 N.W. 2d 435 (1986). Since the legislature has broad discretion in determining classes, a classification will be sustained unless clearly arbitrary and without reasonable basis. Elwell v. County of Hennepin, 301 Minn. 63, 221 N.W. 2d 538 (1974); In re Cold Spring Granite Co., 271 Minn. 460, 136 N.W. 2d 782 (1965); Matter of McCannel, 301 N.W. 2d 910 (1980). A classification which has a reasonable basis does not violate the equal protection clause merely because its administration results in some inequality. Guilliams v. Commissioner of Revenue, 299 N.W. 2d 138 (1980). Classification of real property by use for ad valorem tax purposes has been specifically sustained. Apartment Operators Assn. v. City of Minneapolis, 191 Minn. 365, 254 N.W. 2d 443 (1934). The assessment of homestead property at graduated rates has been specifically sustained. Lund v. Hennepin County, 403 N.W. 2d 617 (1987). If property is in the same class, however, the same ratios must be applied to all property in that class. Minnegasco, Inc. v. County of Carver, 447 N.W. 2d 878 (1989).

When preparing a bill in the area of taxation of minerals, the drafter should review sections 3 and 6 of article X of the Minnesota Constitution and the cases construing these provisions. These sections contain very specific limitations on the legislative power to tax mining operations. The allocation of funds from an occupation tax on iron ore is specifically provided by section 3. See Chapter 3, section 3(n) of this manual for the text of these and other constitutional provisions.

State taxation of interstate business causes intermittent litigation and, as in all legislation, the drafter should review a taxation draft to assure that it complies with the due process requirements of the state and federal constitutions.

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(b) References to Federal Laws

A drafter will often be asked to make reference to or tie Minnesota laws into the federal Internal Revenue Code. Where possible, avoid tying Minnesota tax laws into an open-ended reference to an Internal Revenue Code section. The link may be a delegation of state legislative functions to the Congress, which is impermissible. Wallace v. Commissioner, 289 Minn. 220, 184 N.W. 2d 588 (1971). Instead, refer to the Internal Revenue Code section as amended through a certain year or a specific previous date. The reference may then be updated periodically to incorporate later amendments made to the federal provision.

A draft may incorporate future federal amendments if the state provisions are auxiliary and seek to achieve uniformity with federal programs. Wallace v. Commissioner; Minnesota Recipients Alliance v. Noot, 313 N.W. 2d 584 (1981). Even if the program is not auxiliary to federal law, the incorporation of federal law in rules has been upheld if "good reasons" exist for coordination. Minnesota Energy and Economic Development Authority v. Printy, 351 N.W. 2d 319 (1984). See also Minnesota Statutes, section 645.31, subdivision 2.

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(c) Effective Dates

Every tax bill, with the exception of a few administrative bills, needs an effective date which fits with the existing tax system. Most income tax laws should be effective for taxable years beginning after a certain date, generally December 31. If provisions of federal income tax law are being adopted, the drafter should consider conforming the effective date of the Minnesota provision to the effective date of the federal provision. Most property tax laws should be effective for taxes levied in one specific year, payable the next year, and afterward. Most sales tax laws should be effective for sales made after a specific date. Most estate tax laws should be effective for estates of decedents dying after a specific date.

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6. Organization of State Government

(a) General Considerations

A bill that creates a new board, commission, or department to administer a new program or to regulate an occupational group should be drafted with several general considerations in mind.

First, the drafter must provide for all necessary features of a well- functioning agency. Consult the listing of basic provisions in paragraph (b) of this section.

Second, the drafter must determine if identical or similar programs or functions already exist in other agencies. Similar or identical programs or functions may exist in the statutory authority for other agencies. The drafter must provide the necessary repeals, amendments, or distinctions to coordinate the old and new agencies. Minnesota Statutes, section 15.039, deals with the transfer of powers among agencies.

Third, the drafter must be familiar with the statutory elements common to all agencies. Among the common elements are provisions for naming the agency, administrative rulemaking, budgeting, and employment and compensation of employees. The drafter must ensure that the agency will fit within these common provisions or that suitable exceptions to them are stated.

Fourth, the drafter should set an effective date that leaves enough time for the new agency to be set up without excessive haste. Effective dates are important for transfers of duties between agencies as well.

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(b) Basic Provisions for a New Agency

A drafter should consider providing the following in any bill that creates a new agency:

(1) Indicate whether the agency is a state agency and whether it is within the executive, legislative, or judicial branch, or independent. Indicate whether the agency is part of an existing agency. Name the agency according to the nomenclature established by Minnesota Statutes, section 15.012.

(2) Specify who controls the agency, whether a single person, a multiple-person board or commission, or some combination.

(3) Specify the qualifications of either the person or the members of the board or commission that controls the agency.

(4) Specify the manner of election, selection, and termination of the person or the members of the board or commission that controls the agency. Consult Minnesota Statutes, sections 15.0575 to 15.06 and 15.066 for statutory restrictions. If the drafter intends chapter 15 to apply to the new agency, the applicable sections should be specified. If these statutory sections are not going to apply to the new agency, the drafter should include the following phrase: "Notwithstanding section 15.0575 (or whichever section)...." General provisions relating to advisory task forces are in Minnesota Statutes, section 15.014.

(5) Consider whether any aspects of Minnesota Statutes, chapters 14, 15, 16A, 16B, 43A, 179, and 179A should apply. If a state agency is created, these chapters apply unless a statement is made to the contrary.

(6) Specify any compensation or restriction on compensation of the person or board or commission members who control the agency.

(7) State the duties or responsibilities of the agency. A drafter should specifically avoid splitting up the duties into a number of separate sections in the bill.

(8) State the powers of the agency. A drafter should ensure that there is some relationship between the powers granted and the duties stated elsewhere in the bill. For example, if the agency is established to study a problem, the drafter should consider whether the agency should have the power to issue subpoenas.

If the agency is to have any special authority, such as the power to levy taxes, to issue bonds, or to contract debt, these provisions must be considered separately because they have drafting difficulties in and of themselves. See other sections of this manual on taxes, bonds, and indebtedness.

(9) State the powers of the person, board, or commission that controls the agency. The relationship of the agency head to any assistants or employees should be specifically set out. The drafter should state whether any of the powers may be delegated to subordinates.

(10) If several compartmentalized functions will exist within the agency, the drafter may wish to consider whether separate divisions within the agency should be specified by law.

(11) If the agency will produce revenue in some fashion by charging fees or by selling a product, the drafter should specify the manner in which the fees or prices are determined and the receipts are distributed. The alternatives available include a standing appropriation of money received for the agency's use, or, more usually, a requirement that all money received by the agency be deposited in the state's general fund.

(12) If the agency is permitted to employ staff, specify the status of agency employees. Are they subject to civil service laws, are they exempt, or do they have a special status?

(13) Provide for administrative rulemaking. See section 10 of this chapter for further analysis of the considerations involved when drafting a bill that grants rulemaking authority to an agency.

(14) If the agency will be heavily involved with regulating the activities of individuals, it may be best to set out the outlines of its procedures or the limitations on its authority. These matters should not be left solely to administrative rulemaking. Bills establishing licensing boards should be consistent with Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.70, and chapter 214.

(15) If the agency deals in an area that grants a new right or regulates or prohibits an activity of individuals, the drafter should specify those substantive rights or prohibitions.

(16) Provide for the location of offices, particularly if multiple local offices are contemplated.

(17) State the relationship, as appropriate, to the governor, the legislature, or the Supreme Court, as the ultimate supervisor.

(18) State any sanctions or penalties either for persons dealing with the agency or for agency officers or employees.

(19) Indicate any temporary provisions, such as initial terms of office or temporary powers.

(20) If it is necessary to implement different provisions of the act at different times, provide a schedule of the implementation dates.

(21) Set out any necessary appropriations of state funds to set up or operate the agency.

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(c) Alteration of Existing Agencies

When a bill draft requires modifications to existing agencies, a drafter should use special care. Some of the more important problem areas are indicated in the following paragraphs.

First, as discussed in paragraph (b), there may be close interrelation ship between the sections establishing an agency. When making a single change to one section of the statutes related to an agency, the drafter should examine surrounding material to ensure that changes to other sections are not necessitated by the requested change. The drafter may have to look at a whole chapter or several chapters of the statutes, depending on which agency and which aspect of that agency's function is being changed. As stated in paragraph (a), Minnesota Statutes, section 15.039, addresses the transfer of powers among agencies.

Second, a drafter should ensure that proper references are made to the agency's statutory name and to its statutory head. Guessing whether an agency is a commission, board, or agency or whether it is headed by a director, commissioner, or supervisor can lead to unfortunate results.

Third, a frequent change to multiple member boards and commissions is to add or subtract members. When the existing members have staggered terms, careful drafting is required to clearly indicate what disposition is to be made of existing members' terms or to coordinate new members' terms with the staggered expiration of existing members' terms. The length of terms can be determined by checking the statutes, but the administrative rules may also have to be examined to determine the exact expiration date of each member's term.

Fourth, care should be taken when dealing with changes regarding the appointment and confirmation of officials. Minnesota Statutes, section 15.066, should be consulted.

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(d) Employees

If a bill merges two or more existing agencies or transfers a function of one agency into another, care must be taken to protect the rights of employees. Examples of issues which should be determined follow.

(1) If positions are transferred, not employees determine what happens to employees.

(2) If employees are transferred, specify which benefits are maintained; whether a classification remains the same; whether salary, seniority, and sick and vacation leave balances are retained.

(3) If the transfer or merger results in fewer total positions, state whether the excess positions are abolished before or after the merger.

(4) If a function of one agency is transferred to another, specify which, if any, employee-related costs also transfer. Examples of these costs traceable to the involved "function" are unemployment insurance and workers' compensation.

(5) Specify whether employees are "grandfathered" into the same or a different class with or without a selection process or probation.

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7. Organization of Counties, Cities, and Metropolitan Government

(a) Counties

All the area of the state is included in counties. Most counties were formed in the nineteenth century. Changes in their territory are now rare, although Minnesota Statutes, chapter 370, provides for transfers of territory and establishment of new counties. A change in a boundary or the location of a county seat may be made only with approval of the affected voters. Minn. Const., art. XII, sec. 3.

The general powers of a county are set out in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 373 and 375. The governing body of a county is its board of commissioners, usually five but sometimes seven members.

Counties are a catchall of local government powers and duties. Many officers are required by statute and many of them are elected. The county auditor, treasurer, recorder, sheriff, attorney, and surveyor each are the subject of a chapter in Minnesota Statutes in the series, chapters 370 to 402. Several counties have merged their auditor and treasurer's offices under special laws.

The general law in chapters 370 to 402 is comprehensive and changes slowly, but the ample general law does not inhibit frequent passage of special laws for counties. Individual counties often find it easier to meet special problems by special laws than by seeking to amend the general laws that affect all counties. Special laws to allow specific counties to merge offices under special conditions are common. Ramsey county has adopted a home rule charter. The special laws relating to Ramsey, Hennepin, St. Louis, and Dakota counties are codified in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 384A to 384D.

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(b) Cities

City governments fall into two classes, statutory cities and home rule charter cities. Statutory cities were formerly called villages and are organized under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 412. Several optional forms of organization for each city's government are permitted under chapter 412.

The effect of Minnesota Statutes, section 410.015, should be noted:


The term "statutory city" means any city which has not adopted a home rule charter pursuant to the constitution and laws; the words "home rule charter city" mean any city which has adopted such a charter. In any law adopted after July 1, 1976, the word "city" when used without further description extending the application of the term to home rule charter cities means statutory cities only.

If it is intended that every city entity be included in a reference, then the reference should be to "a statutory or home rule charter city." This cumbersome phrase usually needs to appear only once in a section or in a series of closely related sections that make up a law. If a drafter thinks that in a particular context "a city" or "the city" might not be read to refer back to "a statutory or home rule charter city," the problem can be solved by repeating the phrase or by a definition of the term "city" in the bill.

Home rule charters are permitted by the Minnesota Constitution, article XII, section 4, and provision is made in chapter 410 for their adoption and amendment by cities. Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth and many other cities have charters. Home rule charters can grant cities very large powers. For city elections their provisions can supersede state law, Minnesota Statutes, section 410.21.

Many cities were organized under special laws. Some of the special laws were repealed by section 412.018 which expressed an intention to have cities organized under the statutory city law or under a home rule charter. The old special laws were sometimes called "the city charter" and their variety was confusing. The desire to simplify produced section 412.018 and related legislation. The effort has not been entirely successful. "Statutory city" is a longer term than "village. " More serious, the meaning of "city" in a particular context is ambiguous without recourse to the history of the section or other language in it.

The entire series of chapters 410 to 477A applies to various kinds of cities, but the particular application of each law must be ascertained from its own terms. The development of city laws is parallel to that of county laws. Each session of the legislature produces several special laws relating to individual cities.

Most cities have city councils for governing bodies. Most, but not all, have mayors. Their primary concerns are police and fire protection, street maintenance, health, sewers, and public safety in general. Minnesota cities have lost most of their former involvement with welfare and education.

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(c) Towns

Towns are often called "townships." The latter term is ambiguous since it may also refer to a township in the United States survey. Towns are the appropriate form of rural local government where there is substantial settlement. Large parts of northern Minnesota are not organized into towns.

The basic authority in a town is the town meeting. The town board is the routine town administration. The activity of a town is in direct proportion to its population. Occasionally a town quietly becomes defunct. A town may also become quite urban with enormous town meetings.

Towns have an economical set of laws for their government in chapters 365 to 368. Towns are also referred to in many other laws. Individual towns seek special legislation and each session produces a number of special local laws for them. When drafting a local law for a town, the provision for local approval should refer to "the town board" or "the town meeting" since either may be "the governing body" referred to in article XII, section 2 of the Constitution. Usually the town board is given the responsibility of approving a local law.

The general town laws, like those of counties and cities, evolve slowly. The most urgent responsibility of towns is maintenance of town roads but they possess numerous other powers. The exercise of many of the other powers is needed in urbanized territory but urbanization is usually followed by incorporation of the territory as a city. However, the transition is not inevitable and towns can be found operating in the full range of demographic possibilities from wilderness to city.

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(d) Metropolitan Government

The situation in Minnesota of the Twin Cities has produced a unique set of laws for their metropolitan government. Many of the metropolitan government laws are collected in chapter 473. Several commissions have authority over parks, transit, sewer and waste control, airports, and other subjects. The commissions are usually subject to supervision by the metropolitan council. The establishment of this system was made easier by the adoption of Minnesota Statutes, section 645.023, which made approval by the hundreds of preexisting local governments unnecessary. See section 4(b) of this chapter. The relationship of the metropolitan council and the commissions to the other local government units and the public at large is not settled and is likely to have extensive further development.

The governor appoints the metropolitan council and, with important exceptions, the council appoints the various commissions. The council and the commissions do not readily fall into the familiar categories of state agency or political subdivision although both terms have been used for them. The courts have consistently upheld their powers.

A bill that affects the metropolitan council or a metropolitan commission customarily names the counties where it applies, usually Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington, in accordance with the Minnesota Constitution, article XII, section 2. The Minnesota Supreme Court has characterized the metropolitan council as "a political subdivision. " City of New Brighton v. Metropolitan Council, 306 Minn 425, 428, 237 N.W. 2d 620, 623 (1975). The commissions have not been so characterized, Lifteau v. Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, 270 N.W. 2d 749, 757 (Minn. 1978), and a "political subdivision" is not necessarily a "local government unit." Caution suggests that naming the counties will preclude objections based on article XII, section 2.

Since very few sections of chapter 473 contain a list of the affected counties, a bill that amends sections in chapter 473 usually needs a section to identify the local application.

1      Sec.  ... [APPLICATION.]
2 This act applies in the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota,
3 Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.

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(e) Other Local Government Units

Other units exist with various powers. Examples are transit authorities, port authorities, water authorities, regional commissions, and so forth. They attempt to deal with new or specialized demands placed upon local governments. In general, they combine powers of local entities for limited purposes. This may put a drafter into an uncharted area of Minnesota law where the experience of other states may be of benefit.

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8. Retirement and Pension Laws

(a) Existing Major Plans

Minnesota has several major retirement and pension plans and a number of minor and special plans, mainly local police and fire funds operating wholly or partially under local laws or trust funds remaining after consolidation of a local fund into one of the major plans. Before attempting any drafting in this area, a drafter must be familiar with at least the principal retirement and pension programs. These are as follows:

(1) The Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS), found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 352, includes basically all state employees who are in the classified service as well as some unclassified employees.

(2) The Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 353, includes all employees of municipalities or political subdivisions.

(3) Teachers Retirement Association (TRA), found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 354, includes teachers and administrators in the public schools and state universities.

(4) Teachers retirement associations in cities of the first class are found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 354A, and include teachers in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth.

(5) The Minneapolis Municipal Employees Retirement Fund (MERF), found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 422A, includes employees and officials of the city of Minneapolis.

(6) The State Patrol Retirement Fund, found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 352B, includes state highway patrol, conservation, and crime bureau officers.

(7) Elective State Officers Retirement, found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 352C, includes elected state officers in the executive branch.

(8) Legislator's Retirement Plan, found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 3A, includes legislators.

(9) State Unclassified Employees Retirement Program, found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 352D, includes designated state employees in the unclassified service unless they elect to participate in the regular MSRS plan.

(10) The Public Employees Police and Fire Fund (PEPFF), found in Minnesota Statutes, sections 353.63 to 353.68, includes county sheriffs and municipal police and salaried firefighters who are not members of a local association.

(11) A local police or salaried firefighter's relief fund operating under Minnesota Statutes, chapters 69, 423 or 424, and 423A, which govern those local police and firefighter's relief associations to the extent not covered by a special law.

(12) A volunteer firefighter's relief association governed by Minnesota Statutes, chapter 424A.

(13) The Judges' Retirement Plan, governing retirement and pensions of judges is found in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 490.

Another chapter of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 356, contains a variety of largely administrative provisions which relate to all or most of the retirement and pension plans provided elsewhere. If one of the specific pension plans is modified, this chapter should be checked to assure that no conflict is created.

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(b) Existing Minor Plans

A drafter will also be often called upon to draft a law relating to local police or salaried firefighter's retirement associations. These laws are of two principal kinds:

(1) Those plans organized and operating under one of 55 special laws. These plans are indexed in the "Local and Special Acts" table (Table I) in Minnesota Statutes. Each plan is indexed under the city, county, or other governmental unit in which the association is located.

(2) Those plans organized and operating under either Minnesota Statutes, chapters 69, 423 or 424, and 423A, but which also have some special provisions or exceptions provided by a local or special law. These special exceptions or provisions to plans operating under these chapters are also found listed under the appropriate governmental unit name in Table I of Minnesota Statutes.

It can often be extremely difficult to locate all provisions affecting a particular minor pension plan. This problem is often complicated by the necessity of determining whether a particular local or special law has received the required local government approval.

The legislature has, in recent years, attempted to reduce the number of local police and salaried firefighters retirement associations by encouraging consolidation into the PERA police and fire fund. About half of the 48 existing local funds had voted to consolidate as of mid-1992. Total consolidation, though possibly some time away, should obviate the need for local legislation. In consolidations prior to 1988, a local trust fund was left in existence solely to pay benefits to previously retired firefighters or police or their survivors. Here again the need for local legislation should abate over time.

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(c) Problem of "Omitted Buy-Back"

One instance of a drafting problem which often arises in the retirement and pension law area is that of "omitted buy-back." Throughout the years, various laws have allowed many individuals or groups of public employees to buy back credit for years of service when they either did not contribute to a retirement program or took a refund of contributions. The opportunity provided to buy back under each law existed only for a limited time and often the law authorizing the buy-back has been subsequently repealed or expired by its own terms.

A buy-back law generally involves one or a limited group of individuals. The law must be general in form and must not include the names of any persons affected. The legislature has, from time to time, discouraged proposals to permit a buy-back for a specific individual. However, there is no absolute prohibition and drafting requests for individual buy-back authority are not uncommon.

In drafting a bill to authorize a buy-back of prior service credit, the drafter must determine:

(1) Identity of the employee(s);

(2) Present fund membership, if any, and past fund membership, if different;

(3) Present employer and whether there was a different employer during the period for which buy-back is sought; and

(4) The statutory reference to the repealed or expired law under which authority for the buy-back formerly existed. (If the reference is to Minnesota Statutes, it will be necessary to include the year of a particular edition in the citation--contrary to usual drafting rules.)

The first three items should be obtained from the legislator requesting the bill draft. More complete information on all items can probably be best obtained by contacting the appropriate retirement association.

Before drafting a bill, a drafter should ensure that no buy-back rights presently exist. This occasionally does occur. This information can be given to the legislator making the bill request and the problem remedied without legislation.

The legislation authorizing the buy-back should be carefully checked to ensure that buy-back rights are not to be extended to others similarly situated but not intended by the requester, unless this result is actually intended.

See examples of various buy-back legislation.

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9. Religious Issues Including Use of Public Funds for Religious Institutions

Both the federal and state constitutions deal with freedom of religion and establishment of religion.

The federal constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." U.S. Const. amend. I. This amendment is applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

The state constitution provides the following:

The right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any man be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any religious or ecclesiastical ministry, against his consent; nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state, nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious societies or religious or theological seminaries. Minn. Const. , art. I, sec. 16.

No religious test or amount of property shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust in the state. No religious test or amount of property shall be required as a qualification of any voter at any election in this state; nor shall any person be rendered incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity in consequence of his opinion upon the subject of religion. Minn. Const. , art. I, sec. 17.

In no case shall any public money or property be appropriated or used for the support of schools wherein the distinctive doctrines, creeds or tenets of any particular Christian or other religious sect are promulgated or taught. Minn. Const. , art. XIII, sec. 2.

In addition to the large body of federal cases on church-state relations, in Americans United Inc. v. Independent School District No. 622, 288 Minn. 196, 213, 179 N.W. 2d 146, 155 (1970), the Minnesota Supreme Court stated "... that the limitations contained in the Minnesota Constitution are substantially more restrictive than those imposed by U.S. Const. Amend. 1. " Although upholding the use of public funds to transport parochial school students to and from school, the court noted that "A more effective argument can be made for holding that the use of public funds for transporting sectarian students `supports' a parochial school than can be advanced for holding that such use is for the `establishment of religion. '" 288 Minn. at 201, 179 N.W. 2d at 149. The same reasoning would apply, of course, to the provision of other types of aid to sectarian schools or students. The court itself has not yet defined other ways in which the Minnesota constitutional provisions dealing with religion might be more restrictive than the federal provisions, and it has not effectively overturned the grant of any type of aid to nonpublic schools on the basis of the Minnesota Constitution, but the drafter should be aware of the possibility.

In addition to the Americans United case, one other Minnesota case provides some assistance in interpreting the Minnesota constitutional provisions on religion. In Minnesota Higher Education Facilities Authority v. Hawke, 305 Minn. 97, 232 N.W. 2d 106 (1975), the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the issuance of tax exempt revenue bonds by the higher education facilities authority to refinance the indebtedness of private religious affiliated colleges for construction of facilities used exclusively for secular education did not violate section 2 of article XIII of the Minnesota Constitution which proscribes the use of public money for the support of schools wherein the distinctive doctrines, creeds, or tenets of any particular Christian or other religious sect are promulgated or taught. The decision turned largely on the definition of public money as money raised by taxes and on the fact that the relevant statute declared that the bonds did not constitute a debt of the state.

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10. Administrative Procedures

(a) Statutory Law

Minnesota Statutes, chapter 14, includes the Administrative Procedure Act as well as statutory provisions relating to the office of administrative hearings and rule drafting and publishing functions of the revisor of statutes. Minnesota Statutes, chapter 214, and section 16A.1285 govern the power of agencies to set fees. Minnesota Statutes, chapter 645, applies to the interpretation of rules.

Legislative drafters should be familiar with these provisions when drafting bills concerning administrative rulemaking procedures, including grants of rulemaking authority; exemptions from the APA; and provisions that repeal, amend, or otherwise affect existing administrative rules.

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(b) Grants of Rulemaking Authority

An agency has rulemaking authority only to the extent that the legislature grants it. Courts invalidate agency rules that exceed or conflict with the legislative delegation of rulemaking authority. Thus if a drafter wants an agency to adopt rules to implement a law, the drafter must ensure that the agency is given, or already has, statutory authority to adopt the rules.

Section 14.02, subdivision 4, defines a rule as "every agency statement of general applicability and future effect, including amendments, suspensions, and repeals of rules, adopted to implement or make specific the law enforced or administered by that agency or to govern its organization or procedure. " If an agency action comes within this definition, it generally can be adopted only by using the rulemaking procedures of chapter 14 (sections 14.05 to 14.388). Merely referring to an agency action as a "policy," "guideline," "bulletin," or similar term does not exempt an agency from compliance with the APA procedures in chapter 14 if an action meets the definition of a rule.

Because APA rulemaking procedures govern generally, a drafter granting rulemaking authority need not specifically state that "the rules must be adopted under chapter 14" if all of the following conditions apply:

(1) the entity receiving rulemaking authority meets the definition of "agency" in section 14.02, subdivision 2;

(2) the authority being granted meets the definition of a "rule" in section 14.02, subdivision 4; and

(3) the exemptions in section 14.03 do not apply.

If one or more of these three conditions does not exist, there is not a grant of rulemaking authority and the agency will not have to use APA rulemaking procedures. In these cases the drafter should not exempt the grant of authority from chapter 14 rulemaking requirements.

Pay special attention to effective date provisions when drafting grants of rulemaking authority. Consider making these grants effective the day following final enactment, especially if the legislature has also established in law a specific date by which these rules must be adopted. This will give the agency as much time as is possible to comply with the legislative directive.

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(c) Exemptions

Legislative drafters are sometimes asked to draft rulemaking authorizations that exempt an agency from the rulemaking procedures that would otherwise apply.

It is usually not advisable to draft such an exemption in broad terms from "chapter 14," "sections 14.001 to 14.69," or similar terms. Minnesota Statutes, section 14.386, establishes the adoption procedure that is meant to apply to most exempt rules, and an exemption written too broadly may also excuse the agency from complying with section 14.386.

A well-drafted exemption should always specify the procedure the agency is to follow in adopting the exempt rule; it should specify whether or not the exempt rule is to have the force and effect of law; it should provide a period of effectiveness in appropriate cases; and it should provide for public access to the exempt rule. Minnesota Statutes, section 14.386, addresses these issues and should be used by the drafter as a starting point for drafting the exemption at hand.

Section 14.386 requires the exempt rule to be approved as to form by the revisor, approved as to legality by the office of administrative hearings, and published in the State Register.

Rules adopted under Minnesota Statutes, section 14.386, are effective for a period of two years. The authority for the exemption expires at the end of this period. This section is intended to enhance legislative oversight of rulemaking exemptions by requiring agencies to seek periodic legislative reauthorization of exemptions.

If the drafter concludes that it is appropriate to require the adoption of the exempt rule subject to section 14.386, the provision being drafted could simply require the agency to adopt a rule "under section 14.386." If the drafter decides that it is appropriate for the exemption to be permanent, the provision being drafted could require the agency to adopt a rule "under section 14.386, paragraphs (a) and (c)." The provision should also state that, "(t)he rule is effective upon publication of the rule in the State Register, and continues in effect until repealed or superseded by other law or rule."

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(d) Repeals

It may be necessary to legislatively overrule decisions made by administrative agencies and embodied in rules. Some of the more common methods used by drafters are the explicit repeal of the particular rule and the implicit repeal by enactment of preemptive or irreconcilable statutory language or the repeal of the authorizing statute. Explicit repeal of the rule is the preferred alternative because the scope of the repeal is clear on its face, and it ensures that the rule is removed from Minnesota Rules.

Repeal of a rule does not preclude an agency from adopting a subsequent rule, identical or otherwise, on the same subject. To prevent the agency from adopting a subsequent rule, the drafter should specifically limit the agency's rulemaking power perhaps by repealing the statute that authorizes the rulemaking. If this alternative is chosen, make sure the agency does not possess additional statutory authority to adopt similar rules. The most common examples of such additional authority would be the general grant of rulemaking authority commonly possessed by large agencies and the standing grant of rulemaking authority available to all agencies under Minnesota Statutes, section 14.06.

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(e) Amendments

If a drafter is asked to change a policy embodied in an administrative rule, he or she may use several methods to accomplish this task. The preferred method is to specify in the statute the change to be made and require the agency to adopt it under the APA. An alternative would be to require the agency to adopt the change but exempt it from the rulemaking provisions of chapter 14. In this case, it would be wise to require the agency to comply with the requirements of section 14.386, but include language in the exemption to indicate that the rule amendments are permanent.

The drafter could also draft statutory language that preempts the rule. This alternative is undesirable because the text of the rule remains unchanged and that text may mislead persons unfamiliar with the statutory action. Some additional procedures must then be included in the statute to ensure that the text of the rule is changed. If the change is to be done editorially and its exact wording does not appear in the law, the law may give too much discretion in how the rule text should be amended. Preemption is cumbersome and confusing at best and may easily be ineffective.

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(f) Conforming Changes

When the legislature enacts law that amends, repeals, or otherwise affects existing agency rules, that law supersedes the rules to the extent that the law conflicts with the rules. Generally speaking, the agency must then, by rulemaking, change the rules to conform to the legislative enactments, if it wishes to avoid confusion on the part of the public regulated or otherwise affected by the rules. While past practice had been for the legislative drafter to provide a rulemaking exemption to the agency to make these conforming changes, this practice is no longer necessary in most cases because of Minnesota Statutes, section 14.388. In part, this statute allows agencies to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule without following the usual rulemaking requirements if the exemption is being relied upon to incorporate in the rules specific changes set forth in applicable statutes when no interpretation of law is required, or to make changes in the rules that do not alter the sense, meaning, or effect of the rules. The agency must obtain the revisor's form approval of the rule, a legal approval by the office of administrative hearings, and the rule must be published in the State Register.

Preferred alternatives for ordering changes to rules are as follows:

(1) Subject to the APA

1      Sec. ... [RULE CHANGE. ]
2 The commissioner shall amend Minnesota Rules, part
3 5432.0050, subpart 1, so that provisional licenses issued under
4 that part are valid for five years and are issued only to
5 qualified applicants. The amendment must be adopted pursuant to
6 Minnesota Statutes, sections 14.21 to 14.28.

(The sections of the APA referred to are the sections establishing the procedure applicable to noncontroversial rules.)

(2) Exempt from the APA

1      Sec. ... [RULE CHANGE. ]
2 The commissioner shall amend Minnesota Rules, part
3 5432.0050, Subpart 1,so that provisional licenses under that
4 part are valid for five years and are issued only to qualified
5 applicants. The amendment is not subject to the rulemaking
6 provisions of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 14, but the
7 commissioner must comply with Minnesota Statutes, section 14.38,
8 subdivision 7, in adopting the amendment.

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11. State Land Transfers

Four questions should be answered before preparing a final draft of a bill to authorize a sale, exchange, or other change of title to "state land":

(1) Is the land "state land" over which the legislature has jurisdiction?

Not all entities that are understood to be state entities are subject to legislative control in regard to land owned by the entity. For example, the Minnesota Historical Society is not a state agency like the department of natural resources, because it operates under an 1849 Territorial Charter, which empowers its board to own and dispose of property. Similarly, the University of Minnesota, operating under a charter created in 1851 by territorial law, controls most, but not all, of its land under the authority of the board of regents. Lands granted to the state for a university as a part of the state territorial and enabling acts ("university lands") are however, administered by the commissioner of natural resources, (as successor to the state auditor) pursuant to an 1863 resolution of the board of regents and various acts of the legislature (Minnesota Statutes, section 92.03, subdivision 2). On the other hand, the regents have been given control of "Salt Spring Lands" granted to the state by Congress (Minnesota Statutes, section 92.05).

(2) What state officer or agency has jurisdiction over the land?

Over 90 percent of state-owned land is under the administrative control of the commissioner of natural resources. The commissioners of administration, transportation, and human services, and the board of trustees of the Minnesota state colleges and universities also administer substantial acreages of land for various public purposes. The correct administrator of the state land in question must be named if the act is to be effective.

Statutory powers vary considerably among these agencies, with the commissioner of transportation having the most complete power to acquire and dispose of real property. Some bill drafting requests may be satisfied by supplying the requestor with a statutory citation to a law that authorizes the affected state agency to handle the problem without further legislative act. For example, an asserted title defect caused by state involvement in private land and arising from the farm credit program of the 1920's now referred to as "rural credit program" was resolved to a requestor's satisfaction by reference to Minnesota Statutes, section 46.221, where the commissioner of natural resources (as successor to the commissioner of commerce, the successor to the department of rural credit), is authorized to issue quitclaim deeds under certain circumstances to resolve title problems. In recent years the commissioner of natural resources has been delegated authority to resolve recurring problems in regard to such matters as certain erroneous boundary problems (Minnesota Statutes, section 84.0273), certain road easements (Minnesota Statutes, sections 84.63 and 84.631), and flowage and other easements (Minnesota Statutes, section 84.632).

(3) What is the exact legal description of the land?

Without this, the effort may fail because the state officer will be legally bound to sell or buy only the land described in the act. If the legal description is in error, the officer will probably not act, but will seek corrective legislation at the next opportunity. If doubts exist as to the accuracy of the legal description presented to the drafter and time constraints preclude further review of the description's accuracy, language may be included in the bill to authorize the attorney general to make necessary changes to the legal description to correct errors and assure accuracy.

(4) What is the legal classification of the land?

It is necessary to know the legal constraints surrounding the state's ownership of a parcel of land in order to properly draft legislation relating to it. For example, land granted to the state for the support of public schools, and other federally granted lands such as "swamplands," all of which now are commonly referred to as "trust fund lands," cannot be sold except by public auction under limitations imposed by state constitution (Minnesota Constitution, article X1, section 8). Another large class of state-owned land is that acquired through tax-forfeiture. Most "tax-forfeited" land whose title is held "in trust for the taxing districts" is administered by the county board where the land is located. However, the title is in the state and the commissioner of revenue issues the deed when a parcel is sold (Minnesota Statutes, sections 281.18 and 281.25). "Tax-forfeited" land whose title has been "freed from the trust in favor of the taxing districts" may no longer be administered by the county but the title may still be in the state, for example, the hundreds of thousands of acres of "consolidated conservation area lands" that are administered by the commissioner of natural resources (Minnesota Statutes, chapter 84A). A helpful and thorough reference to various classes of state lands is "Minnesota Lands" by Dana, Allison, and Cunningham, American Forestry Association, 1960.

Most legislative requests for state land related bills arise out of existing constitutional or statutory limitations on sale or acquisition. For example, the constitutional requirement of public auction of trust fund lands poses a practical problem if a boundary is in error or a trespass has occurred and there is substantial agreement among the parties that state land ownership should be changed in some way. The constitutional problem is met by authorizing the commissioner of natural resources to sell the particular parcel of land at public auction, with the qualification that the private party involved in the matter be reimbursed for the value of the improvements. The practical result is that the private party involved in the matter is almost always the successful bidder. (See Exhibit 1.) Condemnation has been approved by the court as a constitutional substitute for public auction. Independent School District of Virginia v. State,124 Minn. 271, 144 N.W. 960, 1914. An example of use of condemnation to authorize other uses of trust fund land is in Minnesota Statutes, section 84B.03, subdivision 2, relating to the transfer of state land to the United States for Voyageurs National Park. The validity of this procedure was challenged and upheld in Essling v. Brubacker, 55 F. R. D. 360 (1971).

Another cause of requests for land bills are statutory prohibitions against sale because the state land is lakeshore (Minnesota Statutes, section 92.45 and 282.018), wetland of a certain type (Minnesota Statutes, section 103F.535), or commercial peatland (Minnesota Statutes, section 92.461). These problems are met by negating the statutes in question and authorizing sale under conditions warranted by the facts of the particular case. In the latter case, care should be taken to avoid drafting the bill so as to violate the constitutional prohibition against certain special laws found in Minnesota Constitution, article XII, section 1, particularly the prohibitions against "remitting fines, penalties, or forfeitures" or "granting ... any special or exclusive privilege"; Peterson v. Humphrey et al. , 381 N.W. 2d 472 (Minn App. 1986).

Because of problems arising from state ownership of vast acreages of land which create particular problems for local governments that are not resolvable under existing statutory authority, the legislature is sometimes called on to authorize specific action in regard to a particular tract of land.

In drafting bills authorizing the conveyancing of the state's interest in the land, the drafter should remember existing state policy that minerals and mineral rights are reserved to the state (Minnesota Statutes, sections 93.01, 93.02, 93.03, 94.14, 94.343, 94.344, 94.349, 282.01, 282.12, 282.20, 282.225, and 373.01).

The exchange of state-owned land is constitutionally authorized with the unanimous approval of the governor, attorney general, and state auditor (Minnesota Constitution, article XI, section 10). When performing duties relating to land exchange, these officers are statutorily designated as the Land Exchange Board; (Minnesota Statutes, section 94.341). Their duties, the duties of the Commissioner of Natural Resources and statutory procedures relating to land exchange are specified in Minnesota Statutes, sections 94.341 to 94.349. In those relatively rare instances when the legislature is requested to become involved in an exchange of state land, the drafter should remember that the states' constitution requires unanimous approval of the exchange by the Land Exchange Board and that mineral and water power rights must be reserved by the state. The drafter should also bear in mind that "exchange," by definition, as recognized in Minnesota Statutes, section 94.343, means that the lands to be traded by the parties involved must be of substantially equal value.

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Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Title and introductory language
Bill subdivisions
Appropriations from sources other than general fund; deficiencies; extension of special authority; procedural rider
Substantive rider
Approved complement; procedural rider
Program budgeting
Project budgeting
New permanent law
Temporary substantive law
Amendment to existing law

Bonding Authorization (1), (2), (3), (4), (5)

Special Law

Drafting form
Typical bill (1), (2), (3)

Local Laws

Applicability provision
Approval provisions (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8)

Pension Buy-back Provisions

New members of group

State Land Transfers

Trespass correction
Lakeshore auction sale
Lakeshore private sale
Land sale to city

EXAMPLE - OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL (Title and introductory language)

1                       A bill for an act
2 relating to the organization and operation of state 3 government; appropriating money for the general 4 administrative and judicial expenses of state 5 government with certain conditions; providing for the 6 transfer of certain money in the state treasury; 7 authorizing land acquisition in certain cases; fixing 8 and limiting the amount of fees to be collected in 9 certain cases; amending Minnesota Statutes 1996, 10 sections 5.08, subdivision 2; 5.09; 10.30; and 16.025, 11 subdivision 1; Laws 1971, chapter 121, section 2, as 12 amended; repealing Minnesota Statutes 1996, sections 13 4.19; and 299D.03, subdivision 4.
16 The amounts in the columns designated "APPROPRIATIONS" are
17 appropriated from the general fund, or another designated fund,
18 to the agency for the purpose specified. The sums are available
19 for the fiscal years indicated for each purpose. The figures
20 "1997," "1998," and "1999" refer to fiscal years and mean that
21 the appropriation or appropriations listed under that fiscal
22 year are available for the year ending June 30, 1997, June 30,
23 1998, or June 30, 1999.

The title is like that of other bills.

In section 1, note the general appropriation language. This is the only place in the entire bill that this provision appears.


1      AGENCY AND PURPOSE                       APPROPRIATIONS
2 1997 1998
4 Subdivision 1. House of 5 Representatives 7,100,000 8,000,000
6 Subd. 2. Senate 5,155,000 5,539,000
7 Subd. 3. Legislative 8 Coordinating Commission
9 (a) Legislative Reference Library 258,000 244,000
10 (b) Revisor of Statutes 1,098,000 1,442,000
11 (c) Office of Legislative Research 12 Science and Technology Project 47,000 47,000

Section 2 is divided into subdivisions and the subdivisions are divided into paragraphs just as in a bill for permanent law.

EXAMPLE - OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL (Appropriations from sources other than general fund; deficiencies; extension of special authority; procedural rider)

2 Subd. 6. Mississippi River 3 Parkway Commission 10,000 10,000
4 For 1998 - $3,000
5 This appropriation is from the trunk 6 highway fund.
8 Subdivision 1. General Operations 9 and Management 1,821,000 1,897,000
10 Subd. 2. Supreme Court 11 Contingent 28,000 3,000
12 If the appropriation for either year 13 is insufficient, the appropriation for 14 the other year is available.
15 Subd. 3. Judges' Retirement 690,000 710,000
16 To be disbursed by the executive 17 Director of the Minnesota state 18 retirement system, subject to the 19 provisions of Laws 1975, chapter 418.

In section 2, subdivision 6, note that the appropriation is from the trunk highway fund. This is an exception to the general rule that appropriations are from the general fund.

In section 2, subdivision 6, note the deficiency or supplementary appropriation for 1998.

In section 3, subdivision 2, note the special authority to use either appropriation in either year.

In section 3, subdivision 3, note the special restriction, called a "rider," on the appropriation.


1   Sec. 6. BOARD ON JUDICIAL STANDARDS        105,000     104,000     
2 Approved Complement - 2
3 The board on judicial standards shall 4 annually review the compliance of each 5 district, county, municipal, or 6 probate judge with Minnesota Statutes, 7 section 546.27. The board shall notify 8 the commissioner of finance of each 9 judge not in compliance. If the board 10 finds that a judge has compelling 11 reasons for noncompliance, it may 12 decide not to issue the notice.
13 When the commissioner is notified that 14 a judge is not in compliance, the 15 commissioner shall not pay the judge's 16 salary.
17 The board may cancel a notice of 18 noncompliance if it finds that a judge 19 has since complied, but a judge shall 20 not be paid a salary for the period in 21 which the notification of noncompliance 22 is in effect.
24 Subdivision 1. The appropriations in 25 this section may be spent with the 26 approval of the governor after 27 consultation with the legislative 28 advisory commission pursuant to 29 section 3.30.
30 Subd. 2. General 3,387,000 4,681,000
31 Of this appropriation, $255,468 in the 32 second year is available for the 33 Minnesota environmental education 34 board. $175,000 each year is available 35 for the resource recovery 36 grants-in-aid program in the pollution 37 control agency.
38 Subd. 3. Game and Fish 50,000 50,000
39 This appropriation is from the game 40 and fish fund.

In the rider in section 6, note the substantive law. This should be avoided. It reads like permanent law but it is attached to an appropriation which is temporary. To avoid any implication that the rider is permanent law, on line 3, before the, should be added "For the fiscal biennium ending June 30, 1995".

In section 7, subdivision 1, note the procedural rider on the expenditure of funds. This kind of provision is clearly attached to the appropriation and is clearly not permanent substantive law.

EXAMPLE - OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL (Approved complement; procedural rider)

2 1997 1998
3 Approved Complement - 191 187
4 General 186 184
5 Federal 5 3
6 Subdivision 1. General Operations 7 and Management 4,945,000 4,875,000
8 Subd. 2. Special Contingent 25,000 25,000
9 This appropriation is not available to 10 pay the costs of special, legal, 11 accounting, and investigative 12 personnel retained in cases arising 13 under Minnesota Statutes, section 14 501.12, filed after January 31, 1981, 15 unless the attorney general decides in 16 a case that all the beneficiaries are 17 not adequately represented, or that it 18 is likely that the purpose of the 19 trust may be frustrated without state 20 intervention and that the state has a 21 substantial interest in carrying out.

In section 16, note the provision for "Approved Complement" which controls by law the number of personnel positions on the department's payroll. The provision is common in departmental budgets.

In subdivision 2 is a procedural rider which restricts the expenditure of funds.


2 General Operations and 3 Management 51,194,000 51,174,000
4 Of this appropriation, $33,775,200 for 5 the first year and $33,741,000 for the 6 second year are from the general fund; 7 $1,330,000 each year is from the 8 special revenue fund; and $16,089,300 9 for the first year and $16,103,100 for 10 the second year are from the game and 11 fish fund, including $526,600 the 12 first year and $533,400 the second 13 year pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, 14 section 296.421, subdivision 4.
15 The amounts that may be spent from 16 this appropriation for each program 17 are as follows:
18 Administrative Management 19 Services 4,272,000 4,272,000
20 $252,900 each year is for the 21 environmental education board.
22 Of this appropriation, $171,400 each 23 Year is appropriated from the game and 24 fish fund to pay for legal services 25 from the attorney general for game 26 and fish activities.
27 Youth Conservation Corps 325,000 325,000
28 The department shall ensure that 29 Youths in all parts of the state have 30 an equal opportunity for employment. 31 The youth conservation corps shall 32 provide service for the various 33 department disciplines including 34 parks, forestry, and stream 35 improvement. $100,000 in fiscal year 36 1998 and $100,000 in fiscal 1999 shall 37 be used for planting, timber stand 38 improvement, and forest development on 39 state-owned lands, other than 40 trust-fund lands, for forestry 41 purposes.

In section 26 money is appropriated from three different funds for various listed programs with amounts shown to be spent on each during each year of the biennium.


2 Subdivision 1. Legislative 3 Commission on Minnesota Resources 180,000 180,000
4 Together with any money received as 5 grants-in-aid from federal sources and 6 any sums granted by private sources to 7 carry out the purpose of the 8 commission. Federal and private funds 9 do not cancel but remain available 10 until spent.
11 Subd. 2. Department of Agriculture 50,000 50,000
12 Framework water plan - phase II. For 13 the department role in phase II of the 14 framework water and related land 15 resources planning effort. The water 16 resources council, or board if 17 created, shall coordinate the work 18 programs and reports of all agencies 19 involved.
20 Subd. 3. Department of 21 Economic Development 21,000 20,000
22 Framework water plan - phase II. For 23 the department role in phase II of the 24 framework water and related land 25 resources planning effort. The water 26 resources council, or board if 27 created, shall coordinate the work 28 programs and reports of all agencies 29 involved.
30 Subd. 4. Energy Agency 106,000 105,000
31 Framework water plan - phase II. For 32 the agency role in phase II of the 33 framework water and related land 34 resources planning effort. The water 35 resources council, or board if 36 created, shall coordinate the work 37 programs and reports of all agencies 38 involved. The water management 39 information system must be developed 40 consistent and compatible with the 41 Minnesota land management information 42 system.

In section 33, subdivisions 2, 3, and 4, are projects that are specially budgeted.


1     Sec. 66. [4.19] [PLANNING PROGRAMS.]
2 Before beginnina a stufy, research, or planning program
3 a state agency or department shall file with the state
4 planning agency on a form prescribed by the agency, a
5 description of the proposed project, including title,
6 purpose, staff assigned, consultants to be used, cost,
7 completion date, and other information prescribed by the
8 agency as appropriate. The agency shall develop rules to
9 exclude from the filing requirements that the agency
10 determine are of minor significance.
11 When the study is completed, a copy shall be filed with
12 the state planning agency. The state planning agency shall
13 review the planning programs of state departments and
14 agencies and submit to the legislature by November 15 of each
15 year a report of findings and recommendations.

Note the proposed coding. This indicates the intention to place the provision in Minnesota Statutes. This is the proper form for a new permanent provision.


1      Sec. 61. [DETAILS.]
2 During fiscal years 1993 and 1994, the staffs of the senate
3 finance committee and the house appropriations committee shall
4 provide detailed information wherever available to requesting
5 agencies or to the commissioner of finance on the activities
6 and objects of expenditures that go into the appropriation totals.
7 This section expires July 1, 1995.

In section 61, note that the language has no proposed coding and has an expiration date. It is clear that this is a temporary provision not i ntended to be coded.


1      Sec. 69. Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 10.30, is amended     
2 to read:
5 In all cases where any state department owes the employees'
6 compensation revolving fund created by sections 176.591,
7 176.601, and 176.611 for claims paid by its employees and no
8 direct appropriation is made therefor such department shall
9 reimburse the revolving fund from the funds available to it for
10 supplies and expense money appropriated for operation of the
11 department.

In section 69, note the ordinary language in the introductory sentence stating that the provision amends existing law. This is the preferred method of drafting an amendment to permanent law in an appropriations bill.

EXAMPLE - BONDING AUTHORIZATION (A single state project)

1                        A bill for an act
2 relating to capital improvements; authorizing bonds and 3 appropriating money for purchase of Water's Edge 4 building.
6 Section 1. [APPROPRIATION.]
7 $9,000,000 is appropriated from the bond proceeds fund to
8 the commissioner of transportation to purchase the Water's Edge
9 building, 1500 West County Road B2, Roseville, for use as a
10 department of transportation metro division headquarters.
11 Sec. 2. [BOND SALE.]
12 To provide the money appropriated by section 1 from the
13 state bond proceeds fund, the commissioner of finance on request
14 of the governor, shall sell and issue bonds of the state in an
15 amount up to $9,000,000 in the manner, upon the terms, and with
16 the effect prescribed by Minnesota Statutes, sections 16A.631 to
17 16A.675, and by the Minnesota Constitution, article XI, sections
18 4 to 7.
19 Sec. 3. [EFFECTIVE DATE.]
20 This act is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 1 authorizes a state capital project and section 2 provides for bonds to be issued to get the necessary money. Although separate bills of this kind are occasionally introduced, the projects are usually adopted as part of an omnibus bill that includes a whole range of projects. This example shows the elements that appear in a more extended form in an omnibus bill. Laws 1996, chapter 463, is an example of an omnibus bonding bill.


1                      A bill for an act
2 relating to Jefferson county; authorizing the 3 acquisition and betterment of apartments for senior 4 citizens of low and moderate income and the issuance of 5 bonds to finance their cost.
7 Section 1. [POLICY.]
8 The legislature finds that there is a shortage of safe,
9 convenient, and reasonably priced housing available to persons of
10 low and moderate income residing in Jefferson county; that the
11 private building industry has not and is not likely to make the
12 needed housing available; that elderly citizens of low and
13 moderate income, generally of a fixed nature, are least able to
14 provide adequate housing for themselves; and that, to provide the
15 needed housing for the elderly citizens, and to accomplish the
16 purposes specified in Minnesota Statutes, section 462A.02, it is
17 necessary to authorize Jefferson county to take the actions and
18 exercise the powers authorized in section 2.
19 Sec. 2. [COUNTY POWERS.]
20 Subdivision 1. [ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY.] Jefferson county
21 may provide for the acquisition and betterment of apartment
22 buildings, in accordance with laws applicable to the construction
23 of county buildings and rent the apartments in them to elderly
24 persons of low and moderate income, upon the terms and conditions
26 the county deems advisable. The apartment buildings must be
27 constructed near the county nursing home, and administered
28 together with the nursing home as part of an overall program for
29 the care of aged and infirm persons.

In section 1 and subdivisions 1 and 2 of section 2, note that the authorization of bonding is part of a general public program. While the purpose is the key to the bill, it also establishes the purpose as not an "internal improvement" prohibited by the Constitution.


1      Subd. 2. [ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.] The county may by
2 ordinance adopt regulations establishing age health and income
3 eligibility requirements for the rental of the apartments. The
4 regulations may provide different rental terms and conditions for
5 persons of different ages health conditions and incomes, but
6 the rentals charged for all the apartments shall be fixed so that
7 the total amount of the rentals is sufficient to pay the
8 principal of and interest on all bonds issued by the county to
9 finance the acquisition and betterment of the apartment
10 buildings and together with any money appropriated by the
11 county in its budget for the purpose sufficient to pay all costs
12 of operation and maintenance of the apartments.
13 Subd. 3. [ISSUANCE OF BONDS.] The county board of
14 commissioners may by resolution authorize the issuance of revenue
15 bonds to finance the acquisition and betterment of the apartment
16 buildings and shall pledge and appropriate the revenues to be
17 derived from their operation to pay the principal of and interest
18 on the bonds when due and to create and maintain reserves for
19 that purpose as a first and prior lien on all the revenues, or
20 as a lien on the revenues subordinate to the current payment of a
21 fixed amount or percentage or all costs of the operation and
22 maintenance of the facilities. Except as provided in sections 1
23 to 3 the bonds shall be issued in accordance with Minnesota
24 Statutes chapter 475 and the interest on them shall be exempt
25 from taxation by the state and all political subdivisions.

In subdivision 2, note the provision that rentals must be sufficient to pay the debt service. In subdivision 3, note the general authorization of the issuance of bonds and the authorization in subdivision 5 for the specific amount for which the full faith and credit of the county may be pledged. These subdivisions also set out the necessary procedures for issuance of the bonds including references to the general bonding law.


1      Subd. 4. [REVENUES PLEDGED.] The revenues may be pledged
2 and appropriated for the use and benefit of bondholders
3 generally, or may be pledged by the execution of an indenture or
4 other appropriate instrument to a trutee for the bondholders,
5 and the site and facilities, or any part of them, may be
6 mortgaged to the trustee to secure the payment of the principal
7 of and interest on the bonds when due. The county board of
8 commissioners may make and enter into any and all covenants with
9 the bondholders or trustees which are determined by it to be
10 necessary and proper to assure the marketability of the bonds,
11 the completion of the facilities, the segregation of the revenues
12 and any other funds pledged, and the sufficiency of funds for the
13 prompt and full payment of all bonds and interest. The bonds
14 shall be deemed to be payable wholly from the income of a revenue
15 producing convenience within the meaning of section 475.58.
16 Subd. 5. [PLEDGE OF FULL FAITH.] The county board of
17 commissioners may also pledge the full faith and credit and
18 taxing powers of the county to the payment of not more than
19 $1,500,000 principal amount of the bonds and the interest on them
20 when due. In that event the board shall adopt an initial
21 resolution stating the amount, purpose, and, in general, the
22 security to be provided for the bonds, and publish it once each
23 week for two consecutive weeks in the official newspaper. The
24 bonds may be issued without the submission of the question of
25 their isuance to the electors unless within ten day after the
26 second publication of the resolution a petition requesting an
27 election signed by mroe than ten percent of the qualified
28 electors voting in the county at the last general election is
29 filed with the county auditor. If a petition is filed, no bonds
30 shall be issued under this subdivision unless authorized by a
31 majority of the electors voting on the question.

Subdivisions 4 and 5 provide additional assurances of the payment of the bonds.


1      Subd. 6. [TAX LEVY.] The county board of commissioners may
2 levy taxes on all taxable property in the county to pay the costs
3 of operation and maintenance of the apartments, and covenant and
4 agree to levy taxes, if needed, over the period during which any
5 bonds issued pursuant to subdivision 3 are outstanding. The
6 amount and rate of the taxes are not subject to statutory limits
7 on county tax levies for general fund purposes.
9 Sections 1 and 2 are effective on the day following final
10 enactment pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 645.023,
11 subdivision 1, clause (a).

Subdivision 6 provides the assurance of how operating costs will be paid which keeps the rentals free to pay the debt service. Section 3 provides that the act, a grant of authority, goes into effect without approval by the county to which the authority is granted.

EXAMPLE - SPECIAL LAW (Drafting form)

1                     A bill for an act
2 relating to the city of Edina; establishing terms for 3 certain municipal offices.
5 Section 1. [EDINA CITY COUNCIL.]
6 At the city elections in 1994 for the city of Edina, three
7 council members shall be elected. The two candidates receiving
8 the highest number of votes shall.....
10 This act takes effect the day after the governing body of
11 the city of Edina complies with Minnesota Statutes, section
12 645.021, subdivision 3.

Special laws, even though permanent are, by definition, not general in application. They are not usually codified and proposed coding is not placed in a bill for a special law. Section 2 is the usual provision for local approval.

EXAMPLE - SPECIAL LAW (Typical bill)

1                      A bill for an act
2 relating to taxation; providing for the imposition of an 3 occupation tax upon persons, partnerships, companies, 4 corporations, and other associations engaged in the 5 business of removing gravel from gravel pits in Kittson 6 county and Marshall county; prescribing penalties.
10 A person engaged in the business of removing gravel from
11 gravel pits in either Kittson county or Marshall county and
12 selling the gravel to other persons, shall pay to the county an
13 occupation tax. The board of county commissioners may determine
14 the amount of the tax necessary for the purposes in section 6,
15 but the amount shall not exceed ten cents on each cubic yard of
16 gravel removed from a gravel pit. The tax must be computed and be
17 due and payable as provided in sections 2 to 8.
18 Sec. 2. [DEFINITIONS.]
19 Subdivision 1. [OPERATOR.] For the purposes of sections 1
20 to 8, "an operator" or "the operator" means a person engaging in
21 the business of removing gravel and selling it to others.
22 Subd. 2. [PERSON.] For the purposes of sections 1 to 8,
23 "person" includes individuals, partnerships, companies,
24 corporations, and other associations.
26 Subdivision 1. [REPORT.] Each quarter of each year an
27 operator shall file with the county auditor, under oath, a report
28 in the form and containing the information that the auditor may
29 require. The first report shall be filed on July 1, 1994,
30 covering the period between the effective date for the county of
31 sections 1 to 8 and June 30, 1994, and thereafter on October 1,
32 January 1, April 1, and July 1 of each year covering the
33 preceding quarter. In each report the operator shall state the
34 number of cubic yards of gravel removed during the quarter and
35 compute the amount of the tax due.

EXAMPLE - SPECIAL LAW (Typical bill, Cont.)

1      Subd. 2. [COMPUTATION.] The tax computed in the report must
2 be paid to the county treasurer on the first day of the quarter
3 next following the quarter for which the report is filed.
5 If an operator fails to file the report required by section
6 3, subdivision 1, or files an erroneous report, the county
7 auditor shall determine the amount of the tax due and notify the
8 person by certified mail of the amount of the tax. The operator
9 may, within 30 days from the date of mailing of the notice, file
10 a written statement of the objections to the amount of the taxes
11 due. The statement of objections is a petition under Minnesota
12 Statutes, chapter 278, and sections 278.02 to 278.13 apply to it.
13 Sec. 5. [PROHIBITION.]
14 A person may not remove any gravel from any gravel pit
15 unless taxes due under this act have been paid or objections have
16 been filed as provided in section 4. A violation of this section
17 is a misdemeanor.
18 Sec. 6. [USE OF REVENUE.]
19 Subdivision 1. [DEPOSIT.] All occupation taxes collected
20 under this act shall be deposited in the county treasury and
21 credited as follows:
22 (a) ninety percent to the county road and bridge fund; and
23 (b) ten percent to a county reserve fund for the restoration
24 of abandoned gravel pits.
25 Subd. 2. [EXPENDITURE.] All occupation taxes deposited and
26 credited to the county road and bridge fund or the reserve fund
27 shall be spent by the county only to maintain, construct, or
28 reconstruct roads traveled by trucks hauling gravel or to restore
29 abandoned gravel pits. Occupation taxes shall only be spent to
30 restore abandoned gravel pits upon lands to which the county
31 holds title or upon lands forfeited to the state, as trustee, for
32 nonpayment of taxes.

EXAMPLE - SPECIAL LAW (Typical bill, Cont.)

2 No report need be filed by or occupation tax paid by the
3 state or its contractors when the gravel removed is used to
4 maintain, construct, or reconstruct trunk highways.
6 The provisions of sections 1 to 7 that relate to Kittson
7 county are effective if approved by the members of the board of
8 county commissioners of Kittson county the day after compliance
9 with Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, subdivision 3. The
10 provisions of sections 1 to 7 that relate to Marshall county are
11 effective if approved by the members of the board of county
12 commissioners of Marshall county the day after compliance with
13 Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, subdivision 3.

EXAMPLE - LOCAL LAWS (Applicability provision)

If the bill is to apply only to one or more local governmental units, the units to which it applies must be named. Naming is required by the Minnesota Constitution, article XII, section 2 and Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, subdivision 1. Neither the Constitution nor the statute requires the naming to be in any particular form. The naming usually occurs in the text or title of the law.

EXAMPLES - LOCAL LAWS (Approval provisions)

Local laws usually contain an approval provision.

(1) The simplest form is:

1      Sec. ... [LOCAL APPROVAL.]
2 This act takes effect the day after the governing body of
3 the city of Metropolis complies with Minnesota Statutes, section
4 645.021, subdivision 3

This form makes the act take effect at 12:01 a. m. after the local approval is filed with the secretary of state. Section 645.02 provides that every act is effective at 12:01 a. m. on the day it becomes effective and that local laws are effective after the approval certificate is filed. Nevertheless, it is customary to include an effective date provision that parallels section 645.02. This serves to remind those affected to comply with the statutory filing requirements.

(2) If a local law applies to two or more units, by normal operation of Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, subdivision 1, the governing body of all of the units must approve the law before it goes into effect. However, if it is desired to have the law apply separately to each of the units which desire to come under the law, then an applicability and a local approval section should be included and drafted as follows:

1      Sec. ... [LOCAL APPROVAL.]
2 This act is effective for any of the cities of London,
3 Paris, Madrid, and Cairo the day after the act's approval by its
4 city council, but only for the city whose council approves it.

EXAMPLES - LOCAL LAWS (Approval provisions, Cont.)

(3) If it is desired that a local law be submitted for the approval of the voters (rather than the governing body) of the local government unit, the approval section should read:

1      Sec. ... [LOCAL APPROVAL.]
2 Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021,
3 subdivision 2, this act is effective only upon its approval by a
4 majority of the voters of the city (county, school district) of
5 ........ voting on the question at an election on the question of
6 its approval.

or, if appropriate, it may read:

1      Sec. ... [LOCAL APPROVAL.]
2 Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021,
3 subdivision 2, this act is effective only upon its approval by a
4 majority of the electors of the town of ...... voting on the
5 question at the annual town meeting or any special town meeting
6 called for that purpose.

(4) If the request requires submission of the question to the voters in the event that the governing body refuses or neglects to approve the law within a given time, the approval section may read:

1      Sec. ... [LOCAL APPROVAL.]
2 This act is effective upon approval by the governing body
3 (town board) of the city (town, county, school district) of
4 ...... If the governing body (town board) does not approve this
5 act within ... days after its enactment, and notwithstanding
6 Minnesota Statutes, section 645.021, subdivision 2, the governing
7 body (town board) shall submit the question of approval to the
8 voters of the city (town, county, school district) at the next
9 general election (town meeting) in the city (town, county, school
9 district). If approved by a majority of the voters voting on
10 the question, this act is effective.

EXAMPLES - LOCAL LAWS (Approval provisions, Cont.)

Most local government units have the necessary authority to call an election. If the local government unit does not have power to call an election, the bill must provide the necessary authority and procedures. For an example, see Laws 1959, chapter 456.

(5) If the requester asks that the bill contain the question to be submitted to the voters, the question should be drafted to give a brief description of the subject of the bill. For example:

1      Sec. ... [BALLOT QUESTION.]
2 At the election on the question of approval of section ...
3 the question submitted to the voters shall be:
4 "Shall the 1996 legislative act that authorizes the city of
5 Gotham to provide ambulance service be approved?
6 Yes ........
7 No ........"

The ballot question describes the purpose of the act that is to be voted on.

EXAMPLES - LOCAL LAWS (Approval provisions, Cont.)

(6) Another variant on local approval is the reverse referendum. Under this provision, a local law is effective without local approval (if making the law effective without local approval is permitted by one of the exceptions in Minnesota Statutes, section 645.023, subdivision 1), unless a petition is filed requesting that the act be submitted to the voters for local approval. A typical example would be:

1      Sec. ... [LOCAL APPROVAL.]
2 Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 645.023, subdivision
3 1, clause (a) (or (b) or (c)), this act is effective without
4 local approval unless the voters of the city (town, county,
5 school district) of ......... request a referendum on its
6 approval.
7 The voters may request a referendum by filing a petition
8 with the governing body (town board) of the city (town, county,
9 school district) of ........ The petition must state the text of
10 this act and indicate that those who signed the petition are
11 residents of the city (town, county, school district) of .......
12 and are 18 years of age or older. The petition must be signed by
13 a number of persons equal to ten percent or more of the number of
14 persons who cast votes for governor within the city (town,
15 county, school district) of ....... at the last election of a
16 governor.

Although this form has been used, its validity has also been questioned. It has not been tested in court. It should be avoided unless a requester specifically asks for it.

EXAMPLES - LOCAL LAWS (Approval provisions, Cont.)

(7) A request may require a local law to contain a provision for a public hearing on the matter proposed before the governing body takes action either approving or disapproving the proposal. A hearing provision should read:

2 Before approval of this act by the governing body (town
3 board) of the city (town, county, school district) of .........,
4 the governing body shall hold a public hearing on the question.
5 Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be published in
6 a newspaper of general circulation in the city (town, county,
7 school district) once in each week for two successive weeks
8 before the hearing. The published notice shall be in a form
9 determined by the governing body (town board). The form shall be
10 sufficient in size and prominent in format in order to attract
11 the attention of the reader. The notice shall set forth the
12 intent of the city council (town board, county board, school
13 board) to consider approval of this act. The text of sections 1
14 to ... of this act shall be included in the notice.

EXAMPLES - PENSION BUY-BACK PROVISIONS (Authorizing an individual to "buy back")

1                         A bill for an act
2 relating to retirement; authorizing purchase of service 3 credit by certain members of the Minnesota state 4 retirement system.
7 An employee covered by the Minnesota state retirement system
8 who was employed in the maintenance and improvement of Camp Ripley
9 during the period from 1936 to 1940 may obtain allowable service
10 credit for not more than 13 months of that service by paying to
11 the Minnesota state retirement system an amount equal to four
12 percent of the member's current annual salary rate. Payment must
13 be made either in a lump sum or by payroll deductions before the
14 termination of state service.
15 Sec. 2. [EFFECTIVE DATE.]
16 This act is effective the day following final enactment.

Note that this provision has very narrow application and will not be codified. If the buy-back is based on the salary at the time of the service, interest is usually included at the rate of six percent per year from the date the service was rendered until the date of payment or repayment.

EXAMPLES - PENSION BUY-BACK PROVISIONS (Authorizing new members of group to "buy back")

3 Subdivision 1. After June 30, 1996, employees of the
4 Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association, referred to as the
5 association, shall become coordinated members of the public
6 employees retirement association unless specifically exempt under
7 section 353.01, subdivision 2b, and the association is a
8 governmental subdivision for purposes of this chapter.
9 Subd. 2. A person who becomes a member of the public
10 employees retirement association pursuant to subdivision 1 may
11 purchase prior service credit with respect to full-time
12 employment with the association subsequent to October 19, 1995,
13 by (a) paying to the public employees retirement association
14 prior to August 1, 1996, an employee contribution in an amount
15 equal to four percent of the person's salary at the time the
16 prior service was rendered, as certified by the association, plus
17 interest at the rate of six percent per year; (b) the member at
18 the same time shall pay an additional amount equal to five and
19 one-half percent of salary at the time the prior service was
20 rendered, plus interest at the rate of six percent per year. The
21 association may, in its sole discretion, for all employees
22 included under this section, pay the public employees retirement
23 association the obligation under clause (b).

Note that this provision does affect existing permanent law and so the drafting format follows the form for permanent laws.


2 Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 92.45, the
3 commissioner of natural resources may sell in the manner
4 prescribed for trust fund land, under Minnesota Statutes, chapter
5 92, the following described property:
6 Lot 1 of Block 1 of the plat of Burntside View located in
7 Government Lot 6, Section 23, Township 63 North, Range 13 West,
8 St. Louis county.
9 The land and any improvements must be appraised separately.
10 If the purchaser of the property is not J.A. Louis
11 LaMontague, the purchaser must reimburse Mr. LaMontague for the
12 value of the improvements.
13 The land sale will resolve an inadvertent trespass that was
14 discovered when a boundary line was resurveyed. The public
15 interest will be best served when this trespass is resolved.


1                         A bill for an act
2 relating to state lands; authorizing public sale of 3 certain tax-forfeited land that boarders public water in 4 ......... county.
6 Section 1. [SALE OF TAX-FORFEITED LAND; ......... COUNTY.]
7 (a) Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, sections 92.45 and
8 282.018, subdivision 1, .......... county [may/shall] sell the
9 tax-forfeited land bordering public water that is described in
10 paragraph (c), under the remaining provisions of Minnesota
11 Statutes, chapter 282.
12 (b) The conveyance must be in a form approved by the
13 attorney general.
14 (c) The land [that may be/to be] conveyed is located in
15 ....... county, consists of about ...... acres, and is described
16 as:
17 (1) .....................................................
18 ............................................................;
19 (2)......................................................
20 (d) The county has determined that the county's land
21 management interests would best be served if the lands were
22 returned to private ownership.
23 Sec. 2. [EFFECTIVE DATE.]
24 Section 1 is effective the day following final enactment.


                             A bill for an act
2 relating to state lands; authorizing private sale of 3 certain tax-forfeited land that borders public water in 4 .......... county.
6 Section 1. [PRIVATE SALE OF TAX-FORFEITED LAND; ..........
8 (a) Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, sections 92.45 and
9 282.018, subdivision 1, and the public sale provisions of
10 Minnesota Statutes, chapter 282, .......... county [may/shall]
11 sell by private sale the tax-forfeited land bordering public
12 water that is described in paragraph (c), under the remaining
13 provisions of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 282.
14 (b) The land described in paragraph (c) [may/must] be sold
15 by private sale to Mr. and Mrs. .............. of
16 ............, Minnesota. The conveyance must be in a form
17 approved by the attorney general.
18 (c) The land [that may be/to be] conveyed is located in
19 .......... county, consists of about ..... acres, and is
20 described as:
21 (1) ....................................................
22 ...........................................................;
23 (2) ....................................................
24 (d) The county has determined that the county's land
25 management interests would best be served if the lands were
26 returned to private ownership.
27 Sec. 2. [EFFECTIVE DATE.]
28 Section 1 is effective the day following final enactment.


1                      A bill for an act
2 relating to state lands; requiring the commissioner of 3 natural resources to convey certain land to the city of 4 Akeley for public purposes.
7 (a) Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, sections 84.027,
8 subdivision 10, and 94.09 to 94.16, the commissioner of natural
9 resources shall convey the land described in paragraph (c) to the
10 city of Akeley for no consideration.
11 (b) The conveyance must be in a form approved by the
12 attorney general and must provide that the land reverts to the
13 state if it ceases to be used for public purposes.
14 (c) The land to be conveyed is located in Hubbard county and
15 is described as follows: Lots nine (9) and ten (10) in block six
16 (6), and all of block five (5), of the Plat of Akeley Industrial
17 Gardens.
18 (d) The city of Akeley intends to use the land for expansion
19 of a city park and for senior citizen housing.
20 Sec. 2. [EFFECTIVE DATE.]
21 Section 1 is effective the day following final enactment.

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