Attorney General Opinions By Date

From 1993 to date, Reverse Chronological Order


Op. Atty. Gen 425c-11 (April 18, 2013)

TAX SALES: FORFEITED LAND: PURCHASE BY MUNICIPALITY: Conveyance of tax-forfeited land by the State of Minnesota to a Township for public park purposes does not supersede a prior Declaration on the property restricting the use of the property to private, residential purposes and therefore, use of the property as a public park is prohibited. Minn. Stat. § 282.01, subd. 6 (2012).

Credit River Township

Op. Atty. Gen 185b (Cr. Ref. 159a-3) (June 15, 2007)

SCHOOL ELECTIONS: PETITIONS: Petition Rules promulgated by the Secretary of State generally apply to petition for school district referendum. School district clerks should perform the functions of “filing officer under those rules:” Minn Stat. §§ 204B.071, 205A.05, subd. 1, 205A.13 (2006); Minn. R. ch. 8205

Independent School District No. 15 (St. Francis)

Op. Atty. Gen 852 (Cr. Ref. 64, 184a) (October 6, 2006)

GOVERNMENT DATA: CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE: Criminal history data collected by city on council candidates is not private “applicant” data under Minn. Stat. § 13.43 (2004). Authority of city to collect such data questioned, Minn. Stat. §§ 13.03, 13.43, 13.601.

City of Red Wing

Op. Atty. Gen 852 (July 14, 2006)

GOVERNMENT DATA: Where members of governing body are considered employees of governmental unit, personal information submitted by applicants for appointment to fill vacancies on the body is private personnel data except for items designated as public by Minn. Stat. § 13.43, subd. 3 and 13.601, subd. 3.

City of Rochester

Op. Atty. Gen. 852 (Cr. Ref. 817, 851) (April 13, 2004)

GOVERNMENT DATA:  PROPERTY APPRAISALS:  Data Practices classification of property appraisals done for purposes of acquisition discussed.  Minn. Stat. §§ 13.44, 117.036 (Supp. 2003).

Department of Transportation

Op. Atty. Gen. 125a-66 (August 12, 2003)

COUNTIES: PLANNING AND ZONING: SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS: FEES: County may not prevent recording of all land conveyance documents that do not comply with county land use controls and fee requirements. Minn. Stat. §§ 272.12, 272.121, 394.37.

Cass County

Op. Atty. Gen. 63b-14 (Cr. Ref. 61c) (May 13, 2002)

CITIES: COUNCIL: ORDINANCES: Computation of two-thirds majority when mayor may only vote in case of a tie. Minn. Stat. §§ 462.355, subd. 3 (2000), 462.357, subd. 2 (2001 Supp.)

City of Minnetonka Beach

Op. Atty. Gen. 1001k (May 8, 2002)

HOSPITAL DISTRICTS: CONTRACTS: Hospital Districts created under Minn. Stat. §§ 447.31, et. seq., are subject to the bidding requirements of Minn. Stat. § 471.345 (2000). Op. Atty. Gen. 1001k, April 18, 1962 superceded.

Paynesville Area Hospital District

Op. Atty. Gen. 174 (Cr. Ref. 159b-12, 161b-14) (March 29, 2002)

TEACHERS: COMPENSATION: SCHOOL:Districts not authorized to pay for teachers’ insurance and retirement contribution while on extended leave. Minn. Stat. §§ 122A.46, 354.094 (2000).

Independent School Dist. No. 279 (Osseo)

Op. Atty. Gen. 59a-32 (Cr. Ref. 441h; 477b-34)  (January 25, 2002)

MUNICIPALITIES:  ZONING:  AMENDMENT:  With certain exceptions, municipal zoning ordinances may be adopted or amended by majority vote of governing body notwithstanding charter provision, or ordinance requiring greater majority.  Minn. Stat. §§ 462.351, 462.357.

City of Moorhead

Op. Atty. Gen. 125a (Cr. Ref. 59a-9) (October 18, 2001)

COUNTY: BUILDING CODE: ADOPTION: County may adopt and enforce State Building Code by ordinance notwithstanding previous referendum. Op. Atty. Gen. 125a. April 20, 1994, superceded. Minn. Stat. § 16B.72 (2000).

Blue Earth County

Op. Atty. Gen. 125a-28 (Cr. Ref. 59a-25; 161b-7) (April 30, 2001)

COUNTIES: INSURANCE: RETIRED EMPLOYEES: Health insurance coverage for retired employees may be modified in connection with a new collective bargaining agreement. Minn. Stat. §§ 179A.03 subd. 19, 179A.20, 471.61, 471.6161.

Itasca County

Op. Atty. Gen. 484e-1 (Cr. Ref. 185b-2) (October 5, 2000)

CITIES: CONSOLIDATION: ELECTIONS: Voter approval of consolidation requires affirmative vote of majority of persons voting on the question. Minn. Stat. § 414.01, subd. 6 (1998).

City of St. Bonifacius / City of Minnetrista

Op. Atty. Gen. 852 (Cr. Ref. 523a-17, 523a-27) (August 4, 2000)

DATA PRACTICES ACT: LABOR AND INDUSTRY: ORDERS: Orders of Commissioner of Labor and Industry and objections thereto are public data. Minn. Stat. §§ 13.39, 176.181.

Department of  Labor and Industry

Op. Atty. Gen. 229a (Cr. Ref. 1005, 1007, 1016) (June 30, 2000)

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: RESPONSIBILITIES: CONSTRUCTION: Responsibilities of Commissioner of Transportation and Metropolitan Council in connection with construction of light rail transit project discussed: Minn. Stat. §§ 471.59, 473.399 473.3997.

Minnesota House of Representatives Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Policy Committee

Op. Atty. Gen. 62b (Cr. Ref. 477b) (May 4, 2000)

CITIES: ORDINANCES: PREEMPTION: A city may completely prohibit smoking in restaurants under its general police powers. The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act expressly preserves the authority of cities to ban smoking where the Act, and Health Department rules promulgated thereunder, would otherwise allow designation of smoking areas by the proprietor.

City of Little Falls

Op. Atty. Gen. 471m (November 23, 1999)

STATUTORY CITY COUNCIL: VACANCY IN OFFICE: Person elected to fill remainder of unexpired mayoral term may assume office upon receipt of certificate of election. Minn. Stat. § 412.02, subd. 2, 2a.

City of Maplewood

Op. Atty. Gen. 1035 (Cr. Ref. 170c) August 23, 1999

MINNESOTA STATE HIGH SCHOOL LEAGUE: Questions concerning the nature, governance and powers of the League discussed. Minn. Stat. §§ 10A.071, 15.0575, 118A.04, 118A.05, 128C.01, 128C.10, 128C.15, 128C.22, 471.345, 471.705, 471.895 (1998).

State Auditor

Op. Atty. Gen. 624a-3 (June 28, 1999)

PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION: HOME RULE CHARTER CITIES: City public utilities commission is authorized to set reasonable rates, including rates in excess of the precise amounts required to operate utilities, and the City Council may transfer moneys from the public utilities fund to the city general fund for public purpose expenditures, subject to applicable charter provisions.

City of Breckenridge

Op. Atty. Gen. 390a-14 (June 9, 1999)

SHERIFFS: MOTOR VEHICLES: County Board has authority to specify color of Sheriff’s squad cars. Minn. Stat. §§ 169.98 subd. 1 (a); 375.18 subd. 2; 387.29 subd. 2.

Blue Earth County

Op. Atty. Gen. 59a-32 (Cr. Ref. 125a-66, 477b-34, 484a-1, 484e-1) (May 11, 1999)

CITIES: ZONING: City ordinance zoning newly annexed land in Mississippi headwaters area is not subject to requirement for formal review and certification by Mississippi Headwaters Board, but must, nonetheless comply with the Boards’ comprehensive land use plan. Minn. Stat. § 103f.371 - 103f.375 (1998).

Mississippi Headwaters Board

Op. Atty. Gen. 161b-7 (Cr. Ref. 59a-25, 125a-28, 469a-7) (December 15, 1998)

SCHOOL DISTRICTS: INSURANCE: RETIRED EMPLOYEES: School district is not required to make available same level of insurance coverage to retired employees 65 years of age and older as that provided to active employees. Minn. Stat. § 471.61, subd. 2b.

Independent School District No. 622 (North St. Paul-Maplewood)

Op. Atty. Gen. 379c-8c (November 5, 1998)

ROADS: TOWN LINE: MAINTENANCE: County boards may determine division of maintenance responsibility for town line road established prior to enactment of authorizing statute. Op. Atty. Gen. 379c-8c, September 18, 1951 superseded. Minn. Stat. § 164.12 (1996).

Otter Tail County

Op. Atty. Gen. 624a-3 (November 2, 1998)

PUBLIC UTILITIES: COMMISSION STATUTORY CITIES: City council is not authorized to delegate operation and management of telephone and cable television services to utility commission. Op. Atty. Gen. 624a-3 , May 7, 1968, superseded. Minn. Stat. § 412.351.

City of Crosslake

Op. Atty. Gen. 159a-3 (March 11, 1998)

EDUCATION: INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: BOND ELECTION: REVIEW AND COMMENT: School board which receives petition by voters to hold special election to authorize issuance of bonds for school facility must submit project for review and comment. A community recreational facility as described by school district is subject to review and comment procedures. Unless the review and comment is negative, school board must call the special election petitioned by voters. Minn. Stat. §§ 121.148 (1996), 121.15 (Supp. 1997), 205A.05 (Supp. 1997). Affirmative vote in bond election does not compel board to issue bonds. Op. Atty. Gen. 159a-3, May 25, 1970.

Independent School District No. 197  (West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan)

Op. Atty. Gen. 107b-19 (December 18, 1997)

COUNTY FUNDS: USES: TAX FORFEITED LAND SALE: County may purchase motor vehicles with tax forfeited land sales funds. Vehicles must be used exclusively for maintenance and improvement of tax forfeited lands.

Becker County

Op. Atty. Gen. 268l (October 14, 1997)

JUVENILES, CRIMES, PHOTOS: Minn. Stat § 260.161, subd. 3(a) only prohibits peace officers from taking photos of children in custody and does not prohibit news media.

SHERIFFS, POLICE, JURISDICTION: County sheriffs have jurisdiction to investigate crimes anywhere in their county, even in cities with established police forces.

Clay County

Op. Atty. Gen. 82t (August 27, 1997)

FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES ACT: DISCLAIMER: VIOLATIONS: The prohibition against anonymous campaign material in Minn. Stat. §§ 211B.04(a) and (b) (1996) is clearly unconstitutional under controlling U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Le Sueur County

Op. Atty. Gen. 90e (August 25, 1997)

CONTRACTS: OFFICERS INTEREST: CITY: Officer and employee of nonprofit corporation that provides public access cable television services in connection with city franchise and contract is not disqualified from serving as mayor or council member, but must abstain from participating in city actions involving franchise. Op. Atty. Gen. 90a-1, July 12, 1973 superceded. Minn. Stat. §§ 238.15 and 471.87 (1996).

City of Northfield

Op. Atty. Gen. 161b-12 (August 4, 1997)

SCHOOL BOARD POWERS: SUPERINDENT: SALARY AND BENEFITS: School district powers regarding salary and benefits for superintendent discussed. Authority of Commissioner of Children, Families and Learning discussed. Minn. Stat. §§ 43A.17, 123.33-123.35, 356.24, 356.25, 471.38, 471.665.

Department of Children, Families and Learning

Op. Atty. Gen. 358e-3 (July 29, 1997)

INCOMPATIBLE OFFICE: CITY ATTORNEY: Office of Assistant County Attorney is not incompatible per se with office of city attorney. Minn. Stat. § 481.17 (1996)

City of Plainview

Op. Atty. Gen. 602j (July 10, 1997)

DRAINAGE: REPAIRS: LIMITATION UPON COST: The limitation contained in Minn. Stat. § 103E.715, subd. 4(a) (1996) on cost of repairs made pursuant to a repair petition does not apply to routine maintenance and repairs made by a drainage authority pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 103E.705 (1996).

Wild Rice Watershed District

Op. Atty. Gen. 390a-21 (November 5, 1996)

SHERIFFS: SERVICE OF PROCESS: Sheriff is not authorized to serve documents pertaining to proceedings in purported “courts” not established by law. Minn. Const. art. VI § 387.03 (1994).

Todd County

Op. Atty. Gen. 63a-5 (August 28, 1996)

OPEN MEETING LAW: CITY COUNCIL: COMMITTEES: Mere attendance by additional council member(s) at meeting of a council committee, held in compliance with Open Meeting Law, would not constitute special council meeting requiring separate notice, but such member(s) should not participate in committee discussions or deliberations, absent separate notice.

City Council of Ely

Op. Atty. Gen. 442a-1 (July 25, 1996)

TOWN FUNDS: OFFICERS: Town is not required or authorized to reimburse officer for costs of criminal defense. Minn. Stat. §§ 465.76, 466.07, 471.44 (1994).

New Scandia Township

Op. Atty. Gen. 59a-30 (July 24, 1996)

CITY OFFICERS: REMOVAL: City charter may not provide for removal of council member by council. Grounds for removal of elected local official must amount to malfeasance or nonfeasance in office. Minn. Const. art. VIII, § 5; art. XII, §§ 3, 4. Minn. Stat. §§ 351.02, 351.14, 410.07, 410.20.

City of Richfield

Op. Atty. Gen. 238i (February 23, 1996)

MANUFACTURED HOME PARKS: FIRE CODE: Fire code road width requirements may be applied to existing park where hazard to life or property exists.

City of Moorhead

Op. Atty. Gen. 852 (December 4, 1995)

DATA PRACTICES: COPYRIGHT: STATE AGENCY DATA: State agency data constituting original works of authorship are protected by federal copyright law. Certain restrictions may be placed upon use of public data. Title 17 U.S.C., Minn. Stat. §§ 13.03, 13.37, 15.95, 16B.483, 16B.51, 16B.53

Department of Natural Resources

Op. Atty. Gen. 64f (Cr. Ref.63b-5) (October 27, 1995)

ELECTIONS: CITIES: Uniform election day statute applies to charter cities transitional provisions discussed. Minn. Stat. §§ 205.02, 205.07, 410.015, 410.21

City of Crystal

Op. Atty. Gen. 59a-32 (Cr. Ref. 59a-9, 125a-66) (August 18, 1995)

CITIES: ZONING: City may extend subdivision regulations and building code enforcement but not zoning controls, two miles beyond city limits where county zoning regulations are in effect. Minn. Stat. §§ 16B.62, 16B.72, 462.357, 462.358 (1994).

Mille Lacs County, City of Milaca

Op. Atty. Gen. 106e (April 10, 1995)

COUNTY SEAT: REMOVAL: Petition not invalid due to claims that signatures not personally observed by affiants: Effect of conditional offer of site and funds for construction.

Roseau County

Op. Atty. Gen. 106e (January 24, 1995)

COUNTY SEAT: REMOVAL: Otherwise qualified voters need not have actually voted at previous election or be registered to sign petition for changing county seat. Minn. Stat. §§ 372.01, 372.03 (1994).

Roseau County

Op. Atty. Gen. 104a-9 (December 28, 1994)

COUNTIES: OFFICERS: COMPENSATION: County may not provide car allowance subsidizing personal use of automobile in addition to maximum authorized salary; authorized vacation leave is not considered severance pay. Minn. Stat. §§ 43A.17, subd. 9, 465.722; 471.665.

Hennepin County

Op. Atty. Gen. 390a-6 (October 31, 1994)

SHERIFF: COMPENSATION: FEES: County sheriff may not perform privately contracted policing services within the county for personal compensation. Sheriff's family members may be involved in private service of process business. Minn. Stat. §§ 387.03, 387.20, 436.05.

Pope County

Op. Atty. Gen. 632e-1 (August 18, 1994)

MOTOR VEHICLE: TAX: BASIS FOR COMPUTING: Motor Vehicle registration tax must be based upon base price as listed on window sticker. Minn. Stat. § 168.013.

Department of Public Safety

Op. Atty. Gen. 627e (August 1, 1994)

ELECTIONS: CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS: Candidates for local office are not precluded by Minn. Stat. § 211A.13 (Supp. 1993) from transferring funds to other candidates for local office.

Hennepin County

Op. Atty. Gen. 90 (June 9, 1994)

CONTRACTS: OFFICERS' INTEREST IN: HOUSING AND REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES: Housing and Redevelopment Authority Commissioner is not prohibited from performing work on projects approved by authority if notice and nonparticipation requirements of Minn. Stat. § 469.009 (1992) are met. Minn. Stat. §§ 469.009, 471.87 (1992)

City of Farmington

Op. Atty. Gen. 124a (April 28, 1994)

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS: COMPENSATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE: Authority to provide per diem allowance does not permit a per meeting payment. Per diem payment permitted for meetings of county board. Members may not be paid multiple per diem for meetings held on the same day, absent independent statutory authority Minn. Stat. §§ 375.055, 375.065.

State Auditor

Op. Atty. Gen. 125a (April 20, 1994)

COUNTY: BUILDING CODE: ADOPTION: County, wherein building code was rejected by referendum, may not adopt code by ordinance. Matter of code application may be resubmitted to referendum. Minn. Stat. § 16B.72 (1992).

Douglas County

Op. Atty. Gen. 1007 (March 11, 1994)

JOINT POWERS ACT: CHARTER SCHOOLS: Charter schools formed as contemplated by Minn. Stat. § 120.064 (1992 and Supp. 1993) are not “governmental units” as the term is defined in the Joint Powers Act, Minn. Stat. § 471.59, subd. 1 (1992); consequently, such charter schools may not be a party to a joint powers agreement.

Independent School District No. 834 (Stillwater)

Op. Atty. Gen. 213c (March 9, 1994)

GOVERNOR: LEGISLATION: CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: Amendments proposed by legislative action are not subject to gubernatorial approval or veto. Minn. Const. art. IV, §§ 23, 24; art. IX, ยง1.

Governor

Op. Atty. Gen. 469b (September 14, 1993)

CITIES: OFFICERS: SALARIES: Compensation of employee for unused vacation upon termination is not considered salary for purposes of Minn. Stat. § 43A.17.

City of Plymouth

Op. Atty. Gen. 707a (July 27, 1993)

MUNICIPAL CONTRACTS: ADVERTISING FOR CONSTRUCTION BIDS: City may include project labor agreement specifications if motivated by economic reasons as purchaser, and not in regulatory capacity.

City of International Falls

Op. Atty. Gen. 414a-5 (May 4, 1993)

TAXATION: INDIAN LANDS: The exemption from ad valorem taxation for Indian lands in Minn. Stat. § 272.01, subd. 1 applies only to lands held in trust by the United States for the benefit of an Indian Tribe, its members, or an individual Indian, and lands owned by an Indian Tribe or an individual Indian subject to federal statutory restraints on alienation. The exemption does not apply to lands owned in fee simple title by Indian Tribes or individual Indians.

Mahnomen County

Op. Atty. Gen. 494a-1 (April 15, 1993)

CRIMINAL LAW: UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET: Issuance for violation not committed or attempted in presence of officer. Superceding Op. Atty. Gen. 494a-1, March 14, 1967. Minn. Stat. §§ 169.91, 169.92, 169.99, 629.34.

City of Minnetonka

Op. Atty. Gen. 387b-10 (March 8, 1993)

STORM SEWERS: CHARGES: City may impose reasonable charges for storm sewer services based upon classification of premises in reference to storm water produced. Minn. Stat. § 444.075 (1992).

City of Delano

Op. Atty. Gen. 484a-1 (March 1, 1993)

CITIES: ANNEXATION: Time conditions in orderly annexation agreements do not bind determinations of Municipal Board or preclude annexation by ordinance pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 414.033, subd. 2a (1992). Minn. Stat. §§ 414.0325, 414.033.

Minnesota Municipal Board

Op. Atty. Gen. 330c-3 (January 4, 1993)

BOARDS: HENNEPIN COUNTY: TERMS OF MEMBERS: Terms of members appointed by county board expire on January. They may continue in de facto capacity until successors are selected. Minn. Stat. §§ 383B.68, 383B.69 (1990).

Suburban Hennepin Regional Park District


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Last update:  April 23, 2013