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S.F. No. 1011 - State and Local Government Settlement Accountability and Transparency
Author: Senator Carla J. Nelson
Prepared By: Stephanie James, Senate Counsel (651/296-0103)
Date: March 8, 2019


SF 1011 requires annual reporting of settlements and awards in connection with an allegation of employee or employer misconduct that are paid by the legislature, the state’s executive branch, or by political subdivisions; and requests annual reporting by the University of Minnesota of settlements and awards paid in connection with an allegation of misconduct by an employee or the university as employer. This bill also limits the legislature’s use of nondisclosure agreements.

Section 1 [Legislative Settlement Accountability]

Subdivision 1 [Nondisclosure agreements prohibited] prohibits the house, senate, and Legislative Coordinating Commission from requiring an employee or legislator to enter a nondisclosure agreement as a condition of an award or settlement resulting from an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

 Subdivision 2 [Reports on settlements] requires the legislature to report annually any payments that are made with public funds for awards and settlements in connection with an allegation of misconduct by any person serving in or employed by a legislative employer.

This subdivision lists the following items that must be included in the report:  the amount and source of funds paid, the employing legislative body, and the name of the person alleged to have committed the violation.  The report must not disclose the identity of the recipient of the settlement or the person who made the allegation of misconduct.

The reporting requirement applies:

(1) to conduct by an employee resulting in an award or settlement for conduct prohibited by law or employer policy; and

(2) to conduct by an employer that results in an award or settlement for conduct by the employer that is a violation of law or employer policy or due to employee misconduct for which the employer may be responsible or liable.

“Public funds” means all general, special, permanent, trust, and other funds, regardless of source or purpose, that is held or administered by the legislative branch.

Section 2 [Harassment Data] permits disclosure of certain private personnel data regarding allegations of harassment to the complainant, and precludes the complainant who receives the data from further release of the data, with exceptions.

Section 3 [Report on Settlements] creates analogous reporting requirements for the executive branch as established in section 1 for the legislature, but only requries the reporting of the name of the person who engaged in misconduct if there has been a final disposition or disciplinary action.

For purposes of this section, “executive branch” is defined, by cross-reference to another statute, to mean heads of all agencies of state government, elective or appointive, established by statute or Constitution, and all employees of those agency heads who have within their particular field of responsibility statewide jurisdiction and who are not within the legislative or judicial branches of government. The executive branch also includes employees of the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. The executive branch does not include agencies with jurisdiction in specifically defined geographical areas, such as regions, counties, cities, towns, municipalities, or school districts, the University of Minnesota, the Public Employees Retirement Association, the Minnesota State Retirement System, the Teachers Retirement Association, the Minnesota Historical Society, and all of their employees, and any other entity that is incorporated, even though it receives state funds.

Section 4 [Report on Settlements] creates the same reporting requirement for political subdivisions as for the executive branch in the previous sections.

"Political subdivisions" means a county, home rule charter or statutory city, town, school district, metropolitan or regional agency, public corporation, or special taxing district.

Section 5 [University of Minnesota Report on Settlements] requests the University of Minnesota to report annually on payments made with public funds in connection with University of Minnesota employees or the university as the employer in the same manner as is required of the commissioner of management and budget.

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