Newsletters

Public Law Newsletter | Spring 2020 | Volume XXX Issue 1

by Abby Ward | Apr 03, 2020

Issue Editor: Kate Swenson, Attorney, Greene Espel PLLP

The 2010-20 Public Law Section Council members are:

Amelia Jadoo, Co-Chair, Dakota County Attorney's Office
Justin Kwong, Co-Chair, Minnesota Department of Health
Lynn Belgea, Treasurer, Minnesota Department of Health
Ethan Landy, Secretary, Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry 
Amber Eisenschenk, Member, League of Minnesota Cities
Craig Gustafson, Member, Minnesota Department of Transportation
Margaret Jacot, Member, Minnesota Department of Human Services
Catherine Miller, Member, Rice County Attorney's Office
Nancy Norman Sommer, Member, Anoka County Attorney's Office
Amy Schmidt, Member, Ramsey County Attorney's Office
Katherine Swenson, Greene Espel PLLP
Andrew Wold, Member, Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Marissa Wunderlich, Student Liaison
Adam Rowe-Johnson, Student Liaison

2019-2020 PLS Council
Andrew Wold, Amy Schmidt, Margaret Jacot, Catherine Miller, Justin Kwong, Amelia Jadoo, Nancy Norman Sommer, Ethan Landy, Amber Eisenschenk and Craig Gustafson.  Not pictured: Lynn Belgea, Hillary Hoffman, Katherine Swenson and Marissa Wunderlich. 


Suddenly Find Yourself Working from Home? 

MSBA Resources for Working Remotely  


Notice of Solicitation of Nominations for Election of Section Officers and Council Members

The MSBA Public Law Section is seeking nominations for positions on the 2020-2021 Council, including the four officer positions. Nominations are due Friday, April 17th, 2020. The election will be held at the Section's Annual Meeting on Friday, June 12th,  at the Section Luncheon which will be held at Midland Hills Country Club beginning at 11:30 AM following the Public Law Section Annual CLE focused on religious and political awareness in the workplace, to be held at 9:00 AM. Please submit your nomination or letter of interest to Abby Ward at award@mnbars.org.                               

Notice of Solicitation of Nominations for the Public Law Attorney Awards - Nominations due soon

 
The Minnesota State Bar Association - Public Law Section (PLS) invites nominations for awards honoring attorneys and judges engaged in public service and in the public practice of law. Through these awards the PLS celebrates our commitment to public service and the public practice of law.

These awards are also used to recognize attorneys and judges who have distinguished themselves by their significant and outstanding contributions to public service and the public practice of law. Nominations are due Friday March 27, 2020.

Please contact the chair of the Awards Committee (contact information below) for further information about the awards. A nominee does not need to be a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association to be eligible for an award. A list of previous recipients can be found here.

A nomination should consist of the following: 

1) Nominee’s full name, employer, address and telephone number; 
2) Nominator’s name, employer, address and telephone number; 
3) Attach a short narrative statement (not to exceed two pages) explaining how you know the nominee and describing the nominee’s qualifications for the award; and 
4) Nominee’s resume, if available.
5) Nominations should indicate which award should be considered. 

The awards include:

1. Rosalie E. Wahl Judicial Award of Excellence  
This award is named for former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Wahl whose work as a Justice encompassed the attributes of the award. Justice Wahl was highly regarded, not only for her work as a judge but also for her dedication to and tireless efforts on projects improving the justice system. Read more...
 
2. Julius E. Gernes Prosecutor Award of Excellence*  
This award is intended to recognize the work and dedication of an outstanding public attorney working in the State of Minnesota as a County/City Attorney and/or as a criminal prosecutor at the federal, state, or local level. Read more...
 
3. William E. McGee Public Defender Award of Excellence*  
The William E. McGee Public Defender Award of Excellence is intended to recognize the work and dedication of an outstanding public attorney working in the State of Minnesota as a public defender at the federal, state, or local level. Read more... 
 
4. Public Attorney Awards of Excellence*  
There are two Public Attorney Awards of Excellence. These awards are the primary method of recognizing the work and dedication of outstanding public sector attorneys. Award recipients are selected from the following areas: Civil Law (Public Law Office Counsel) & In-House Agency Counsel. Read more...
 
5. Douglas K. Amdahl Public Attorney Career Achievement Award  
This award is intended to recognize retired or retiring public attorneys who have had distinguished careers as public attorneys, have made many significant contributions to public service and are recognized as models of the dedication and commitment of public attorneys. This award may be given to more than one recipient per year.  
 
6. P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award of Excellence  
This award is intended to recognize an outstanding public attorney (or public law office) who has engaged in activities that show dedication and commitment to provide volunteer services to underserved communities. Read more...
 
7. Public Lawyer Diversity Award
This award recognizes outstanding effort and dedication by a public lawyer or office or organization of public lawyers in Minnesota who has had a demonstrated impact on (i) improving the employment opportunities for lawyers from groups historically under-represented because of race, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental disability or sexual orientation or (ii) eliminating bias based on race, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental disability and sexual orientation in employment of lawyers. Read more...
 
*Persons nominated for the Julius E. Gernes, the William E. McGee, or Public Attorney Awards of Excellence must have at least 5 years of experience as a public attorney. They must have engaged in activities that show dedication and commitment to public service and the public practice of law. Nominees may also distinguish themselves by making significant contributions that aid in the operation of government or the practice of law and/or by demonstrating extraordinary leadership, initiative, or innovation in the performance of their duties. 

Nominations must be submitted no later than Friday March 27, 2020.
 
Please submit nominations to Abby Ward via email, fax or mail (email with attachments in MSWord is preferred)
 
A list of previous recipients can be found here.
Abby Ward
MSBA Section Services
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380 
Minneapolis, MN 55402
612-278-6307 

AWARDS COMMITTEE (for questions) 

Justin Kwong
Public Law Section Co-Chair
Attorney
Minnesota Department of Health
625 North Robert Street
St. Paul, MN 55146
651-601-3597
 
Public Law Section Co-Chair
Assistant County Attorney
Dakota County Attorney's Office
1560 Highway 55
Hastings, MN 55033
651-438-4439

PLS Public Service Project

By: Kim Mesun, Minneapolis School District 

Ronald McDonald House - Cooking for Kids 
 
Valentine’s Day was the theme for the meal served by the ten volunteers who cooked the meal for Cooking for Kids on February 5. And nothing says Valentine’s Day and love like Tater Tot Hot Dish, green beans, oranges, and chocolate chip cookies. And of course, once again there were treat bags filled with candy hearts, chocolate and other surprises, including a return of the ever-popular slime!
 
Thank you to the volunteers who helped to set the festive tone: Nancy Gove, Nancy Norman, Ann Rodel, Nancy McLean, Greg Brooker, Justin Kwong, Laura Booth, Laura Zrust, Tina Casey, and Kim Mesun. Thank you also to Nancy Gove, Nancy Norman, Laura Booth and Kim Mesun for the Valentine’s Day treats. Read more about the winter Cooking for Kids Public Service Projects...
 
The Cooking for Kids adventures scheduled to take place on April 1 is canceled. Our next Cooking for Kids adventures is scheduled for June 3 and August 5 when we will be returning to our warm weather salad bar menu! Non-attorneys are also welcomed to attend. If you are interested in being added to the volunteer list email, contact Kim Mesun at kim.mesun@mpls.k12.mn.us.

Cookingforkids_February2020


News from the Bench

By: Kim Mesun, Minneapolis School District
 
Governor Walz appointed the Honorable Jeffrey Bryan and Susan Segal as judges on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Judge Bryan will be replacing the Honorable Judge Heidi Schellhas and will serve in an at-large capacity. Ms. Segal will be replacing the Honorable Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks, filling the seat designated for the Fifth Congressional District.

Susan Segal was the Minneapolis City Attorney. In that role, she was responsible for the legal work of the City, including all litigation involving the City and its boards and commissions, and managing an office of 110 employees. She was also responsible for managing criminal prosecutions of misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors committed by adults in the City, which involves over 15,000 cases per year and where she has focused on justice reform in this capacity.

JeffreyBryan
SusanSegal
              
 











Judge Bryan                                                     Judge Segal


Eyes on the Court

By: Byran Frantz, Anoka County Attorney's Office 
 
In the Matter of Walmart Inc. v. Anoka County
OAH 8-0305-36242
 
In February, 2019, two Assistant Anoka County Attorneys gave a presentation sponsored by the Minnesota County Attorney’s Association (MCAA).  The presentation covered legal strategies for defending tax petitions brought by big-box retailers.  The MCAA made the presentation available to its members via live webinar and also “on-demand” at the MCAA website.  The MCAA required viewers to sign up using their MCAA member passwords.  The MCAA also applied to the State Board of Continuing Legal Education to allow attendees to obtain CLE credit for viewing the live webinar.
 
Walmart, Inc. made a data request to Anoka County to obtain the presentation materials maintained by the assistant Anoka County attorneys and all communications related to the webinar/presentation. Anoka denied Walmart’s request, articulating that the materials were “attorney data” under Minnesota Statute § 13.393 and not subject to dissemination under the MGDPA.  Walmart attempted to get an advisory opinion from the Department of Administration’s Data Practices Office (DPO), but the DPO would not issue an opinion, citing the fact that Walmart’s attempts to obtain the power point

Department of Administration Advisory Opinion Index

By: Lynn Belgea, Minnesota Department of Health
 

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 is available online in the Data Practices Office Opinion Library at https://mn.gov/admin/data-practices/opinions/library/.

 

 


Join the Public Law Section Data Practices Committee

By: Lynn M. Belgea, Minnesota Department of Health
 Data Practices Commitee
If you’re looking for a way to get more involved in the Public Law Section, joining one of our committees may be for you. The PLS Data Practices Committee meets September through June at 3:00 PM the first Monday of every month, unless the first Monday is a holiday.  The Data Practices Committee meeting scheduled to take place on April 6 is canceled. Stay tuned for more information about future Committee meetings. 
This year the committee co-chairs are Lynn Belgea from the Minnesota Department of Health and Katie Engler from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  To sign up for notices of meetings, send an email to lynn.belgea@state.mn.us.  We also send out committee minutes and articles of interest to government data practices lawyers.  Even if you can’t participate at the meetings, we welcome questions for discussion by the committee and will reply with the committee’s collective wisdom!  This year’s meeting schedule is posted in the Data Practices folder of the MSBA PLS Community page.  If you have any questions, contact Lynn or Katie. 

News from the Administrative Law Section

By: LauraSue Schlatter, Chair of MSBA Administrative Law Section's Governing Council 
CONNECTING WITH THE CRIMINAL LAW BAR, UNREPRESENTED PARTIES, PRO BONO ATTORNEYS, AND LAW STUDENTS
 
In accordance with the MSBA's official response to COVID-19, the Administrative Law Section will hold all CLEs via remote participation only from now until at least April 15th. The following information may be subject to change if that April 15th deadline is extended. Please check the MSBA Events Calendar for the latest and most up to date information. 
 
The Ad Law section continues its focus on providing education and connections with the goals of encouraging attorneys and law students to learn more about administrative law and increasing access to justice in administrative hearings. The March 20th CLE has been postponed with no reschedule date confirmed yet. The Ad Law section is partnering with the Criminal Law sections of the Hennepin County and State Bar Associations to present a companion 1-hour CLE on April 23, 2020 focusing on the collateral consequences of criminal pleas and convictions in administrative proceedings – especially human services, and health licensing board cases. Please refer to the MSBA CLE and Events calendar for any updates regarding the April 23rd CLE. Read more...

Legislative Update

By: Rachael Sterling, League of Minnesota Cities (Intergovernmental Relations Intern) 
 
On February 11, 2020 the Minnesota Legislature reconvened to begin the second year of the 91st legislative session. Minnesota’s legislature operates on a biennial system, meaning that every session is two years long. The biennium begins in odd number years, and those years are when the state budget is set for the next two years. Even years are for review and evaluation of policies, agencies, and budget requirements. Unlike the first year of the session, nothing needs to be passed during the second year, though it is generally when bonding bills are proposed. Bills introduced during the first year of the biennium are still considered “live” the second year so law makers will often use the time between the odd- and even-year sessions to review, amend, and garner support for their specific bills.  
 
There are two new faces in the House this year after two special elections were held in Elk River and Minneapolis. Paul Novotny (R) was elected to Elk River’s seat after the resignation of Nick Zerwas this past December. Sydney Jordan (D) was elected to fill long-time Representative Mary Loeffler’s North East Minneapolis seat, left vacant after her passing in November. After the special elections the Democrats continue to be the majority party in the House and the Senate Republican majority remains unchanged since there were no special elections in that body. 


2020 Minnesota City Attorney's Conference

By: Kate Swenson, Greene Espel PLLP
 
The Minnesota Association of City Attorneys (MACA) held its annual conference on February 6 and 7 in Bloomington.  Topics included emerging First Amendment trends in social media, the intersection of misconduct and mental health in law enforcement, attacks on qualified immunity, appellate review of the decisions of home-rule cities, issues in zoning, licensing, and employment related to cannabis plants, and various other issues in criminal and civil law relevant to municipal lawyers.
 
MACA’s annual Legislative Update conference is scheduled for June 26 in St. Paul. It will be held in conjunction with the League of Minnesota Cities 2020 Annual Conference.  Registration will open in the spring for this opportunity to learn about the highlights of the legislative session and to get civil, criminal, and judicial updates
her passing in November. After the special elections the Democrats continue to be the majority party in the House and the Senate Republican majority remains unchanged since there were no special elections in that body. 

Upcoming Public Law Section CLE's

By: Ethan Landy, Department of Labor & Industry 
 
In accordance with the MSBA's official response to COVID-19, the Public Law Section will hold all CLEs via remote participation only from now until at least April 15th. The following information may be subject to change if that April 15th deadline is extended. 
 
The Public Law Section has already hosted a number of low-cost CLEs this year on topics of interest to public lawyers, highlighted by a half-day program on data practices in October and a well-attended discussion on public service loan forgiveness in January.
 
Due to the developing COVID19 situation, the Public Law Section will postpone their Governmental Immunities CLE scheduled for Friday, March 20. We hope to reschedule this event in the future, and we will communicate when a rescheduled date is confirmed. Stay tuned for more information on our April CLE. 
 
The Public Law Section is excited to partner with Minnesota Women Lawyers to co-sponsor a CLE in May on Pro Bono experiences and opportunities. This is a continuation of the section’s goal to highlight Pro Bono organizations at CLEs throughout this year. The planned two-hour program will offer Elimination of Bias CLE credits. A social event will follow the CLE program, and various organizations will be on hand to answer questions and provide more information about Pro Bono work. The CLE will be free for Public Law Section members, and $20 for all other attendees. Look for more details in a future email announcement.
 
The section hosts a morning CLE program as part of its Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. This year the topic will be Religious and Political Awareness in the Workplace. Additionally, this year we will be collecting items for homeless veterans through the organization Every Third Saturday. For a list of the items we will be collecting click here
 
One-hour CLEs are $10 for Public Law Section members and $25 for non-members, with lunch included.  MSBA members who are not part of the PLS can join the section for $27 ($17 for Public Attorneys) and attend their first one-hour CLE for free.
 
Topic suggestions for future CLEs are always welcome. Please contact Abby Ward, Public Law Section MSBA Liaison, at award@mnbars.org to send suggestions to the PLS Council

Spring Recipe - Super Easy Dump-and-Bake Pasta  

Nancy Norman vouches for this ingredients_emailgreat recipe - it's very easy to put together with whatever you have on hand! 

 
Servings: 4  
Time: 55 minutes
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1 14 ounce can quartered artichokes, drained
1 cup diced fresh asparagus about 10 spears
1/2 cup grated carrots - I used a bag of "matchstick carrots" from the produce section as a shortcut
1 1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth for a vegetarian option
1/2 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh chives or green onions divided
1/4 cup chopped freshly parsley divided
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. 
  2. In the prepared dish (or in a separate bowl), stir together cooked chicken, artichoke hearts, asparagus, carrots, uncooked pasta, chicken broth, about half of the chives, half of the parsley, minced garlic, and salt, and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.
  3. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes. 
  4. Uncover; stir. At this point you should check the pasta to make sure that it is al dente (firm but just about finished cooking). If it's still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente. Then move on to the next step. 
  5. Stir in the frozen peas and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes (or until pasta is tender). 
  6. Garnish with remaining chives and parsley just before serving.

Annual Report

MSBA Public Law Section
Annual Report

2019-20 

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

Date

Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

MSBA Public Law Data Practices Retreat

 

10/11/19

279171

2.0 Standard

1.0 Elimination of Bias

55

Mindfulness – Living a Lower Maintenance Life

11/15/19

280269

1.0 Standard

24

Anatomy of an Ethics Complaint

12/13/19

281990

1.0 Ethics

30

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

1/24/20

282340

1.0 Standard

45

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

2/14/20

291173

1.0 Elimination of Bias

12

Contract Checkup – Diagnosing Problems in State and Municipal Contracts

5/21/20

304418

1.0 Standard

68

Public Law Section Elections and Q&A

6/12/20

N/A

N/A

19


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