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Public Law Section E-News

Summer 2013/ Volume XXIII/ Issue 1




2013 PLS Awards of Excellence
On May 17, 2013, the Public Law Section presented its annual awards of excellence. The following articles are from presentation comments made at the awards ceremony or from nomination letters submitted on behalf of the recipient. Read more here.

May 19 PLS Annual Meeting and CLE
Kim Mesun
The age-old discussion of separation of church and state and the freedom of religion were the focus of the CLE at the Public Law Section Annual meeting on May 17, 2013. Professor Tom Berg from the University of St. Thomas Law School laid the ground work on the topic with his presentation on “Religious Expression in Public & Governmental Spaces: General Principles.” He discussed (1) basic free speech principles, (2) the question of whether there is any difference in the analysis for religious speech, and (3) “content neutral” restrictions. Read more here.

PLS Executive Council Elections
Set out below are the results of the Executive Council Elections held at the Public Law Section Annual Meeting on May 17, 2013.

Co-Chairs (1-year term):
Margaret Westin - General Counsel, ISD #279, Osseo Area Schools
Lynn Belgea- Legal Counsel, Data Practices Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Health

Secretary: (1-year term):
Jim Alexander- Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office

Treasurer: (1-year term):
Hon. Diane Alshouse – District Court Judge, Second Judicial District

Executive Council (1-year term):
Lisa Gordon—Assistant City Attorney, Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office (serving the 2nd year of the term of Dana Banwer)
Laura Zajac—General Counsel, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (serving the 2nd year of the term of retiring member Mary Miller)

Executive Council (2-year term):
Lisa Veith – Assistant City Attorney, St. Paul City Attorney’s Office
Juan Hoyos – Assistant County Attorney, Ramsey County Attorney’s Office
Corrine Heine – Minnetonka City Attorney
Inta Sellers – Co-Chief Human Services Judge, Minnesota Department of Human Services

Returning Council Members (not on ballot, serving the 2nd year of 2-year term):
Hon Todd Schoffelman—District Court Judge, Tenth Judicial District
Barry Greller – Assistant Attorney General, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office

2013 Laws of Interest to Public Lawyers
Michele Timmons
A previous article addressed the first ten chapters of Minnesota Laws 2013, so this article will focus on chapters 11 through 144. 2013 was a budget session, and contained many appropriations, including funding for all-day kindergarten in Chapter 116. Through bonding, funding was also provided for renovation of the Minnesota State Capitol in Chapter 136. Read more here.

Administrative Law Page - Minnesota Administrative Case Law Review (June 2012-June2013)
David Schultz
The Public Law Section allows their colleagues in the Administrative Law Section to have a “page” in the PLS newsletter to utilize for their information. See the page here.

2013-2014 PLS Annual Report and Solicitation for Committee Volunteers
Read the report here.

MSBA Assembly Meeting Report
Juan Hoyos
The MSBA assembly met on June 28, 2013, at the Minnesota CLE Center. It was the last meeting for the 2012-2013 year. It was also the last meeting for outgoing President Bob Enger. Phil Duran will preside as President for the 2013-2014 year. The assembly voted and approved appointments to the MSBA Foundation Board, The Minnesota CLE Board of Directors and the MSBA’s Council. Of note, Ms. Robin Wolpert of Stillwater, a former municipal defense and government liability attorney, was selected as MSBA Secretary. Ms. Wolpert is presently a senior counsel at 3M in the company’s Business Conduct and Compliance unit.

Also of note, members from the MSBA’s Legislative and Judiciary Committees reported on their recommendations regarding judicial selection in Minnesota. Both committees had almost identical recommendations supporting a merit selection process for judges in Minnesota. The recommendation advocates for a non-partisan selection and retention process for Minnesota judges, a position taken by the MSBA for several years. The assembly voted to adopt a revised position on this issue. It is hoped that the legislature will tackle judicial selection in its next session. The MSBA’s position on judicial selection and other issues may be viewed on the organization’s website at
The next assembly meeting is scheduled for September 20, 2013.

Eyes on the Courts
The MN Supreme Court Expungement Cases. Click here to read more.

PLS Public Service Projects

Volunteers Needed

The Public Law Section is very proud of its public service history.  Since the section was first created in 1991, the PLS has been organizing opportunities for public lawyers and their friends to help out.  We are always looking for volunteers.  If you are interested in helping out, see below for contact information.

loaves    fishes

Loaves and Fishes
On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, Public Law Section volunteers together with volunteers from U.S. Bank once again set up and cooked a meal for approximately 300 people through the Loaves and Fishes program.  The meal is served in the basement of the Holy Rosary church at 2424 18th Avenue South in Minneapolis.  The public lawyers and bankers cook the meal and do set up and the University of Wisconsin – Madison alumni serve the meal and clean up.  Future meals will be cooked up on August 7, October 2 and December 4.  Cooking/set up starts at around 3:00 and is finished at 5:00.  The Badger alums would also welcome you if you would like to help with serving and clean up instead (5:00 – 7:00).  If you would like to become involved in this public service effort, please contact Kim Mesun at and she will add you to the reminder email list.

loaves and fishes    volunteering

Adopt a Family
The Public Law Section will participate once again in the Adopt a Family project through Catholic Charities.  The PLS will adopt 5 or more families who have registered with Catholic Charities to receive donations of holiday gifts.   Families typically have 4 to 6 family members each.  PLS section members have two options for assisting with this project: 

  • Collaborate within your office or group of friends to adopt an entire family and purchase holiday gifts for that family.  For this option, PLS will provide you with the information on your assigned family.
  • Contribute on your own by making a cash contribution or purchasing gift(s) for a family member.  Coordination is provided by the PLS project chair, who is Corrine Heine.
  • Volunteer your time to assist the project chair in coordinating the contributions made by PLS members for individual family members.

If you want to participate, please notify Corrine Heine by October 15, 2013 by contacting her at  Corrine will provide you with detailed information on what you need to do.

service project    habitat for humanity

Habitat for Humanity
The PLS is set to work on a Habitat for Humanity Brush with Kindness project on Saturday, September 21, 2013 in Bloomington.  Eight-to-ten volunteers will be needed to work on a landscaping project.  If you are interested in participating, contact Jim Alexander at for more specifics.

News from the Bench
Follow the latest news from the bench.

Recipes for late Summer/Fall
Eileen Wells
Late Summer and Fall are good times to make and enjoy soup. It is easy and quick to make. Soup, salad and bread make a relaxed and delicious meal.

Data Practices Opinions Index
Mary Miller
This index uses the Department of Administration’s opinion numbers, dates of opinion, government entity involved and opinion requester.  We add a brief topic description.  Text of the opinions are available on line at

No. of Opinion

Date of Opinion

Gov’t Entity Involved


Opinion Requester



Department of Public Safety

  1. License plate number queries of on-board computers by Sibley County Sheriff’s patrol cars
  2.  Data from BCA in response
  3.  Number of transactions per officer;

M.S. 13.37, subd. 2,  Security information.

American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, Bratlie



Independent School District #743

Questioning of student without provision of Tennessen warning
(M.S. 13.04, subd. 2.)




Issue Editor
Kim Buechel Mesun

Katie Engler
Juan Hoyos
Kim Buechel Mesun
Mary Miller
Michele L. Timmons
David Schultz
Eileen Wells




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