Public Law Newsletter | Summer 2016 | Volume XXVI Issue 2

by Shawn Carlson | Jul 21, 2016
Issue Editor: Kim Buechel Mesun

2016 PLS Awards of Excellence

On June 3, 2016, 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.

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June 3 PLS Annual Meeting, CLE, and Book Drive 

The 2016 Public Law Section Annual Meeting CLE held on June 3, 201 was a panel presentation on the topic of police body cameras and the recently enacted law in Minnesota (Senate File No. 498) on the subject. The Burnsville Police Department was the first in Minnesota to require its officers to wear body cameras in 2010.  Many officers who have used the cameras believe they capture valuable evidence, but privacy considerations have been raised by members of the community.  In addition, use of this technology creates complicated data practices issues and civil liability considerations.  A panel consisting of State Representative Peggy Scott, BCA Superintendent Drew Evans, Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson, St. Thomas Professor and Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds, ACLU Legislative Director Benjamin Feist and civil defense lawyer Jason Hill from Jardine, Logan & O’Brien gave their perspectives on the myriad of issues involved with the use of body cameras by police.

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Public Law Section Executive Council Elections for 2016-17
Set out below are the results of the Executive Council Elections held at the Public Law Section Annual Meeting on June 3, 2016.
Co-Chairs (1-year term):
Lisa Godon – Assistant Hennepin County Attorney
Inta Sellars – Co-Chief Human Services Judge, Minnesota Department of Human Services
Secretary (1-year term):
Patricia Beety – Attorney, League of Minnesota Cities
Treasurer (1-year term):
Lynn Belgea – Legal Counsel, Data Practices Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Health
Executive Council (2-year term):
Katie Engler – Senior Legal Analyst, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Hon. Juan Hoyos – District Court Judge, Fourth Judicial District
Amelio Jadoo – Assistant Dakota County Attorney
Margaret Westin – General Counsel, ISD 279, Osseo Area Schools
Returning Council Members (not on ballot, serving the 2nd year of 2-year term):
Dan Abelson – Associate General Counsel, Metropolitan Council
Dave Goslee – Deputy Rochester City Attorney
Melissa Manderschied – Attorney, Kennedy & Graven
Nancy Norman – Assistant Anoka County Attorney
Law Student Members (appointed by executive council)
Devin Driscoll, Amanda Harrington, Seth Zawila
New Lawyers Section Liaison
Amy Schutt – Attorney, Campbell Knutson


2016 Minnesota Laws of Interest to Public Lawyers
By Michele L. Timmons, Revisor of Statutes

In 2016, the Minnesota Legislature did not enact transportation or bonding bills.  The legislature did pass two major bills that were vetoed by the Governor; S.F. 588, the pension bill, and H.F. 848, the tax bill.  There were, however, 108 chapters of new law enacted, although Ch. 186, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources bill, was subject to a number of line item vetoes.  Here is a synopsis of new chapters that may be of interest to public lawyers.

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MSBA Public Law Section
Annual Report


Section Membership
As of June 7, 2016, the Section has 452 members.

Financial Status
The Section had an account balance of $13,030.49 as of May 31, 2016. 

CLEs & Events
The Section hosted 8 CLE programs in fiscal year 2015-16.  

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

Minnesota Expungement Law – Eleven Months Of Experience



1.0 Standard


How Appealing!



1.0 Standard


Judicial Ethics: What Lawyers Should Know



1.0 Ethics


Introduction to the Open Meeting Law



1.0 Standard


2015 Court Rules Changes You Need to Know – Juvenile Protection Procedure



1.0 Standard


Human Trafficking in Minnesota



1.0 Standard


Governmental Immunity



1.0 Standard


Body Cameras: Legal and Practical Implications



3.0 Standard



Annual Meeting and Election Results

The Section’s Annual Meeting was held on June 3, 2016 and 85 people attended. 

The following council members were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018:

Katie Engler
Juan Hoyos
Amelia Jadoo
Margaret Westin 

The following officers were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Co-Chairs: Lisa Godon & Inta Sellars
Secretary: Patricia Beety
Treasurer: Lynn Belgea

The annual PLS Awards were given to 12 recipients in each of seven categories. 

Rosalie E. Wahl Judicial Award of Excellence
Gregg E. Johnson

Julius Gernes Prosecutor Award of Excellence
Raymond O. Cantu

William E. McGee Public Defender Award of Excellence
Jeanette Boerner

Public Attorney Award of Excellence:  Attorney Working in a Government Agency
Gregory N. Gray

Public Attorney Award of Excellence:  Civil Attorney Working in a Public Law Office
Dan Klint

Douglas K. Amdahl Public Attorney Career Achievement Award
William A. Bierman, Jr.
Jeanne K. Matross
Michele L. Timmons
Toni A. Beitz
Charles L. LeFevere
Thomas M. Scott

Diversity Award
Constance M. Tuck

Other Section Accomplishments

Diversity:  Led by the PLS Diversity Committee, the section has a three year diversity plan.  The section amended its bylaws to reflect a more diverse and inclusive group of attorneys for the section.  We also developed and implemented a public attorney diversity award and awarded it at the 2016 annual meeting.

Membership:  The membership committee headed the distribution of a survey of the PLS members’ demographics.  We found that our membership is comprised of over 60% attorneys with government entity affiliation and 29% in private law firms.  The remainder are students and those with “unknown” law practices.  The membership committee also updated our section website and developed a new section brochure.  The section increased its law student involvement by adding three law students to our governing council and recruited new lawyers and students at several recruitment events.

Public Service:  For the 15th year, the PLS has prepared meals for the “Loaves and Fishes” Program.  Our section is responsible for making meals six times per year.  At our annual meeting this year, we held a very successful children’s book drive.  We also offered our members the opportunity to participate in the “Adopt a Family” Program during the holiday season.

Ongoing Activities:  We maintain active participation in the PLS’s Data Practices Committee through its monthly meetings.  We also publish two newsletters per year and spent some time looking at whether we should go forward with a “pro bono office model policy” for government offices by surveying all MSBA public attorney members.

Submitted By:
Inta M. Sellars and Lisa Godon, Section Co-Chairs
Date:  June 29, 2016



Administrative Law Section Launches Beck Fellowship Program
By Tom Bailey, Chair, MSBA Administrative Law Section

The Administrative Law Section of the MSBA will be launching its George Beck Administrative Law Fellowships in Fall 2016 for law students in their second, third, and fourth year at Minnesota’s three law schools. The Fellowship is the result of the Admin Law Section revamping its current administrative law scholarship program to focus on externship opportunities at the Office of Administrative Hearings.

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MSBA Assembly Meeting Report

By Lisa Godon, Section Co-Chair

The MSBA assembly met on June 24, 2016, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Minneapolis.  It was the last meeting for the 2015-2016 year.  It was also the last meeting for outgoing President Mike Unger.  Robin Wolpert will preside as President for the 2016-2017 year.  The assembly also voted and approved the election of Sonia Miller-VanOort, a Minneapolis attorney, as President-Elect; Paul Godfrey as Treasurer, and Tom Nelson as Secretary.

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International Municipal Lawyers Association Upcoming Conference

IMLA (International Municipal Lawyers Association) will hold its annual conference in San Diego, California from September 28 to October 2 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel.  Join local government attorneys from across the United States and Canada for a program intended specifically for local government attorneys.  As in past years, two specialized programs will also be offered during the conference: a Code Enforcement Program on September 28 and 29, available for local government attorneys and code enforcement officials; and the Institute for Local Government Attorneys on September 28, geared toward new local government attorneys and presented in a classroom format.  The main conference agenda includes sessions on regional growth management, construction contract drafting, the impacts of autonomous cars on transportation, the First Amendment and panhandling ordinances, government use of drones, and numerous other topics.  For more information on the conference or special programs, see




PLS Public Service Projects

Loaves & Fishes
April 6, 2016
Ten volunteers cooked up the PLS’s famous Tator Tot Hotdish for the approximately 200-250 adults and children who came to the Loaves and Fishes program located in the basement of Holy Rosary church in South Minneapolis on April 6.  Thank you to volunteers Nancy Norman with Anoka County Attorney’s Office colleague Chris and her son Clint, Greg Brooker, newcomer Mary Shimshak from the Carver County Attorney’s Office, Beth Gloppen, Nancy Gove, Steve Fouts, Nancy McLean and Kim Mesun.  Also thank you for financial and food donations from Booth Law Group, Steve Fouts, Nancy Norman, and Kim Mesun.  The PLS funds approximately $300 of the cost of the food for the meal and the rest is paid for through individual donations.  The PLS volunteers (and friends) cook the meal and do set up.  Then the University of Wisconsin – Madison alumni come in to serve and clean up.  They also bring in fresh fruit for the meal.
June 1, 2016
With the warmer weather the menu changed from tator tots to beef tacos.  Ten volunteers were on hand to cook up the meal for the June 1 Loaves & Fishes meal. Thank you to food prep volunteers Nancy Gove, Beth Gloppen, Cindy Atsatt, Ginny Hinzman, Laura Booth, John Kirwin, Michael Green, Renee, Nancy McLean, and Kim Mesun.  Due to a date mix up with the University of Wisconsin – Madison alums, some PLS volunteers also stayed around to help serve the tacos to the approximately 200 people who came to the meal.  Also thank you for the financial and food donations from Cindy Atsatt, Beth Gloppen, Roseann Schreifels and Kim Mesun.
PLS volunteers meet on the first Wednesday of even-numbered months to prepare the meal at Loaves and Fishes in the basement of Holy Rosary church in  South Minneapolis.  The next meals prepared will be on Aug. 3, Oct. 5, and Dec. 7 starting at 3:00.  If you would like to volunteer, contact Kim Mesun at

News From the Bench and Public Attorneys on the Move

There are several updates.

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Zucchini Mexicali
By Inta Sellars

A good recipe for all those zucchinis and tomatoes that are plentiful in late summer.

Four to six servings.

1 lb. unpeeled zucchini, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
3/4 c. chopped celery (optional) 
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried basil or 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 med. tomatoes, cut into wedges or 1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. salsa 
2 tsp. dry mustard
Reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese to taste

1 pkg. (20 oz.) ground turkey
1 pkg. taco seasoning

Steam all vegetables except tomato in microwave to the desired texture1, add tomato and seasonings and then microwave for 30 seconds and vegetarian version is ready to eat.  For non-vegetarian version, in a large skillet, prepare turkey and taco seasoning according to taco seasoning package directions.  Mix together all ingredients into pan used to cook turkey.  Cook over low heat for up to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  For either version, serve and top with cheddar cheese.  


Department of Administration
Advisory Opinions Index

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 2016 opinions is available on line at .

No. of Opinion Date of Opinion Gov’t Entity Involved Topic Opinion Requester



ISD #911 (Cambridge-Isanti)

Data Practices Act:Minn. Stat. section 13.43

Classification of data in a Notice of Proposed Removal of a school board member where the board member is also a former school district employee

ISD #911, Wallner



City of Morehead

Open Meeting Law: Minn. Stat. section 13D.05, subd. 3, paragraph(a)

Sufficiency of publicly-stated summary of conclusions regarding a performance evaluation of the City Manager conducted during a closed city council meeting




City of Motley

Open Meeting Law: Minn. Stat. sections 13D.01, subd. 3, 13D.04, subdivision 2, & 13D.05, subd. 3, paragraph(b)

Appropriateness of closing city council meeting on the basis of attorney-client privilege; content of notice of special meeting; statement of grounds for closing meeting

Staples World, Halvorson



ISD #706 (Virginia)

Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. section 13.32 & FERPA

Disclosure of private educational data to paraprofessional school district employees before the employees have a work assignment that requires access to the data and before the employees have a “legitimate educational interest” in private data about students and their disabilities under FERPA

ISD #706, Colosimo

Prepared by Lynn M. Belgea

Annual Report

MSBA Public Law Section
Annual Report


Section Membership

As of June 22, 2020 the Section has 450 members.

Financial Status

The Section had an account balance of $9,386.58 as of May 31, 2020.

CLEs & Events

The Section hosted 7 events in fiscal year 2019-20. 

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

MSBA Public Law Data Practices Retreat




2.0 Standard

1.0 Elimination of Bias


Mindfulness – Living a Lower Maintenance Life



1.0 Standard


Anatomy of an Ethics Complaint



1.0 Ethics


Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Where We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We May Be Heading



1.0 Standard


Help for Attorneys in Crisis – Dealing with Lawyer Addiction and Impairment



1.0 Elimination of Bias


Contract Checkup – Diagnosing Problems in State and Municipal Contracts



1.0 Standard


Public Law Section Elections and Q&A





Annual Meeting and Election Results

The Section’s Annual Meeting was held on June 12 and 19 people attended. 

The following new council members were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2022:

• Sarah McGee, Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
• Kathryn Iverson Landrum, Minnesota Attorney General's Office
• Lisa Godon, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office

The following council member was re-elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2022:

• Meg Jacot, Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities

The following council member will serve as an ex officio member of the judiciary on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• The Honorable Tracy Smith, Minnesota Court of Appeals 

The following council members will continue to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• Andrew Wold, Minnesota Office of Higher Education 
• Amber Eisenschenk, League of Minnesota Cities 
• Craig Gustafson, Minnesota Department of Transportation 
• Nancy Norman Sommer, Anoka County Attorney's Office

The following officers were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• Co-Chair: Justin Kwong, Minnesota Department of Health 
• Co-Chair: Kate Swenson, Greene Espel, PLLP
• Treasurer: Cathy Miller, Rice County Attorney’s Office    
• Secretary: Ethan Landy, Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry

The following law students will serve on the Section's Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2020:
• Ivy Marsnik, University of Minnesota Law School 
• Cyle Cramer, Mitchell Hamline School of Law 

Diversity and Inclusion
What diversity and inclusion goals did the Section include in the 2019-2020 work plan, how did you approach these goals, and what was the result?

  • The Section completed a Diversity & Inclusion plan in the 2017-2018 year, and the Section referenced this plan as it conducted its 2019-20 business. The Section completed its goal of hosting a CLE in Greater Minnesota when it held its Data Practices Retreat in Baxter, MN. 
  • The Section continued to fill law student representative positions on the Council to ensure there is representation from all three law schools. 
  • The Section provided remote access to most CLEs to provide access to public law attorneys throughout Minnesota. 
  • The Section cultivated COVID-19 resources and made them easily accessible via the Section website. 

Other Section Accomplishments

  • The Section donated funds to the MSBA New Lawyers Leadership Conference ($100), Minnesota Justice Foundation ($250), and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers ($50). 

Submitted By:
Amelia Jadoo and Justin Kwong, Section Co-Chairs
Date July 8th, 2020