The Star Tribune identified 660 separate exemptions from public disclosure in the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (Chapter 13 of Minnesota Statutes).

Unlike the federal Freedom of Information Act, which offers nine general exemptions that agencies then interpret, the Minnesota law gets much more specific on what’s public and what’s private. It starts with the presumption that government records are public, and the Legislature defines which records are not.

The reasons for the exemptions generally fall into the categories of individual privacy (data about health, finances and home address, for example); corporate confidentiality (data that a business thinks would hurt its competitiveness if made public); and security (data that would reveal law enforcement investigative techniques, or informants).

Identifying and counting each exemption is more of an art than a science, but the 660 exemptions we counted are detailed below. The total number of annotations will be different, given that some provisions contain multiple exemptions and some are coded in other statutes.

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