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Dayton signs Timberjay bill

Cheers to Gov. Mark Dayton for signing the Timberjay Bill.

On Wednesday, he signed the bill into law, making private companies’ contracts on government projects public under Minnesota’s open records law.

The legislation stemmed from Ely-based Timberjay Newspapers’ legal fight to see the contract between Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls and its subcontractor for an $80 million school project in northern Minnesota, according to the Associated Press.

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

The Star Tribune reports the law requires all government contracts include notice that the Minnesota Data Practices Act applies to private businesses.

And even if the contract doesn’t include the clause, the open records provision still applies.

The bill excludes health plan companies, managed care organizations and county-based purchasing plans until June 30, 2015.

The bill also clarifies how the Department of Public Safety must sell driver’s license and motor vehicle records, establishing a bulk rate fee.

Dayton line-item vetoed a portion of the bill that would fund a study by the office of the Legislative Auditor to study how secure state systems are at securing and transmitting data—including citizens’ personal information.

“It is not fiscally responsible to appropriate an outgoing amount of money without articulating the cost to perform the new duties outlined in the law,” Dayton wrote in a letter explaining his decision, according to the Star Tribune.

Dayton added that he is concerned money wasn’t appropriated for MN.IT Services, given that one of the primary duties of the state’s Information Technology department “is to identify and manage potential vulnerabilities in state systems before they are exploited by those who wish to gain access to sensitive state data.”

*** Cheers to the state’s online health insurance exchange.

Even though the 2014 Open Enrollment period is closed, MNsure navigators and brokers continue to provide free one-on-one enrollment help to Minnesotans looking to sign up for health insurance through the state’s online marketplace.

More than 780 outreach and enrollment opportunities took place across Minnesota in May, and more are scheduled as summer begins.

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollment are open year-round, so the state is seeing an average of 1,100 new enrollees every day, the same numbers seen during the open enrollment period.

So far, MNsure has enrolled 50,881 Minnesotans in a qualified health plan; 47,328 in MinnesotaCare; and 129,332 in Medical Assistance, for a total of 227,541.

The 2014 open enrollment period ended on March 31. Minnesotans who did not enroll in coverage must now wait until the next open enrollment begins on Nov. 15, and may face a tax penalty.

The only consumers that can currently enroll in health insurance, inside or outside of MNsure, are those that experience a “qualifying life event,” those who are eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, tribal members, and participants in the Small Business Health Options Program.