House Education Policy Committee examines student data privacy bill

The Minnesota House Education Innovation Policy Committee met Thursday to discuss HF 2671 — a bill relating to student data privacy authored by Rep. Eric Lucero.

HF 2671 proposes to limit government and third-party access to personally identifiable data about students, including survey and other data, collected by state entities — such as the Minnesota Department of Education, the Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Office of Higher Education, or by local entities such as school districts and schools. The bill would also makes civil remedies available and subject violators to presumptive damages.

PeterMartin3-17-2016

MSBA’s legal counsel Peter Martin (left) expressed concern that a student data privacy bill sponsored by Rep. Eric Lucero (right) was broader in some respects and could prohibit activities that school districts routinely engage in, such as special education evaluations.

 

During his testimony, Rep. Lucero said student data privacy laws are outdated. Lucero said his bill would protect students’ private data and ensure parental authority. Lucero said that data breaches are a cause for alarm — either from hackers or companies that have been granted access that misuse it.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Lucero said. “I am seeking partners to create the strongest bill. This is a very complex issue. You have to start somewhere — and the time to act is now.”

 

During testimony before the committee, MSBA’s legal counsel Peter Martin expressed concern that HF 2671 was broader in some respects and could prohibit activities that school districts routinely engage in, such as special education evaluations. Martin said that the bill should parallel the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Act (PPRA). Martin further cautioned legislators on the prospects of school districts being subject to lawsuits and damages even when no actual harm arises.

Visit http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/bs/89/HF2671.pdf for a House Research summary of HF 2671.

The committee planned to reconvene at 5 p.m. Thursday to look at five more data privacy-related bills. Three of those bills are also authored by Lucero:

  • HF 2898: Student privacy in data on electronic devices provided by an educational institution protected, and penalties provided.
  • HF 2899: Student privacy with respect to electronic data in student information systems protected, and penalties provided.
  • HF 2900: Student privacy in personal electronic devices on campus protected, and civil penalties provided.

The other two bills are sponsored by committee chair Rep. Sondra Erickson:

  • HF 2762: Education commissioner directed to develop plan to ensure privacy and security of students’ personally identifiable information.
  • HF 2813: Statutes governing parental rights in education cross-reference directory created.

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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