Band Assembly Proposes Open Meetings and Data Privacy Statute


Band Assembly has published the second draft of Title 27, Open Meetings and Data Security Act, and is seeking input from Band members. According to Band Assembly, this landmark legislation is laying the groundwork for live streaming and transparency. District III Representative Wally St. John is the sponsor, and the Office of Secretary/Treasurer Sheldon Boyd contracted and provided direction to deliver on goals. This is meant for the people, and the people should and will have input before moving forward.

Section 1: Declaration of Policy and Intent

Section 1 provides a clear explanation of the purpose of the proposed legislation, which can be found on the website at

(a) Article XIII of the Tribe’s Constitution mandates that all Members be afforded “equal opportunities to participate in the economic resources and activities of the Tribe.”

(b) In a democracy, the people are vested with the ultimate decision-making power. Governmental agencies exist to aid the people in the formation and conduct of public policy. Opening up governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation is the only viable and reasonable method of protecting the public’s interest. Therefore, the Band Assembly declares that it is the policy of this Tribe that the formation and conduct of public policy — the discussions, deliberations, decisions, and action of governmental agencies — shall be conducted as openly as possible. At the same time, it is the responsibility of governmental agencies that create, receive, and maintain records to ensure their safekeeping and availability to the general public of the Tribe. Be it enacted by the Band Assembly of the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Bands of Chippewa Indians, to implement this policy the Band Assembly declares that:

(1) It is the intent of the Band Assembly that this Act protect the people’s right to know;

(2) The provisions requiring open meetings shall be liberally construed;

(3) The provisions providing for exceptions to the open meeting requirements shall be strictly construed against closed meetings; and

(4) Tribal agencies that create, receive, and maintain records, electronic records, and data shall ensure their safekeeping and availability to the general public of the Tribe, when appropriate.

Summary of contents

The following sections are elaborated in detail in the draft of Title 27.

Section 2. Definitions. Twenty-eight terms are defined in this section.

Section 3. Open Meetings. Except for executive sessions and emergency actions, all Band Assembly meetings are to be open to Members of the Tribe.

Section 4. Executive Sessions. Executive sessions of the Band Assembly shall not be open to the general public of the Tribe.

Section 5. Destruction of Information. An agency must take all reasonable steps to destroy, or arrange for the destruction of, personal financial and health information and personal identification numbers issued by government entities in an individual’s records within its custody or control when the entity is disposing of records that it will no longer retain.

Section 6. Use of Records and Information. Any records, documents, materials, or other information in control or possession of the Tribe that is obtained in the course of an investigation or prosecution pursuant to Section 5, subsections (c)–(f), may be used solely to advance an investigation or prosecution and must be utilized in a manner that protects disclosure of records and information to the strictest extent possible (e.g., by filing under seal or in camera). Neither the Tribe nor any of its agencies may otherwise make the records, documents, materials, or other information public.

Section 7. Third Party Service Providers. Agencies must exercise due diligence in selecting third-party service providers. Agencies must require a third-party service provider to implement appropriate administrative, technical, and physical measures to protect and secure the information systems and nonpublic information that is accessible to, or held by, the third-party provider.

Section 8. Interagency Data Sharing. Certain data has substantial value when used across Agencies. It is essential to maintain public trust that confidential information is safe and secure via appropriate, strong, and effective safeguards and compliance with applicable privacy rules. Therefore, confidential, proprietary, or sensitive information is only to be shared according to a data sharing agreement drafted specifically for data to be shared under the agreement.

Section 9. Information Security Program. Agencies must manage, maintain, and protect electronic records, including text and email messages, social media, and confidential data in accordance with applicable law and regulations. Each agency shall monitor, evaluate, and adjust, as appropriate, its information security program consistent with any relevant changes in technology, the sensitivity of its nonpublic information, and any internal or external threats to information.

Section 10. Records Requests. All agencies must organize and maintain public records in a manner that meets the agency’s duty to respond to records requests at a location readily available to Members.

Section 11. Enforcement and Violations. The Solicitor General of the Tribe shall interpret and enforce the Open Meetings and Technology Act. This Section does not apply to Section 5 of this Title, which relates to the destruction of records.
To read the draft of Title 27 in its entirety, go to or contact