James Eli Shiffer, the Star Tribune’s watchdog and data editor, digs into data and documents to uncover the news. Reach him at 612-673-4116, james.shiffer@startribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameselishiffer. Tell us what to investigate. Send your story tips to whistleblower@startribune.com.

New Minnesota law will shine a light on public money in private hands

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: May 28, 2014 - 6:00 PM

The "Timberjay" bill was one of the last ones floating around Gov. Mark Dayton's desk since the end of session, but it means a great deal to those of us in the cult of public records and open government (see my earlier blog post). The governor's office just sent word that he signed the bill, which passed with bipartisan support, albeit with a limited line-item veto. The objectionable provision involved the bill's creation of a revenue stream for the Legislative Auditor to study data security. "It is not fiscally responsible to appropriate an ongoing amount of money without articulating the cost to perform the new duties outlined in the law," Dayton wrote in his veto letter

The heart of the bill remains, and that's restoring the requirement that government contractors open their records to the public. Given how many government functions are outsourced in Minnesota, it's only fair that they can prove to the public that its money is well spent.

Above: The governor speaking at the Capitol Tuesday/Star Tribune photo by Glen Stubbe

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