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The League of Women Voters of Dakota County is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences policy through education and advocacy. We meet monthly and also host candidate forums, issue forums, and other events of interest to the community. Please attend one of our meetings or contact us for more information!

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On April 7, 2020, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution calling for a public hearing regarding a proposed 1-year moratorium on new wells that would extract large quantities of groundwater. The moratorium would prohibit "the construction, installation, or permitting of new wells estimated to use a water volume greater than 10,000 gallons per day or 1,000,000 gallons per year for the following proposed Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water uses and types:


• Commercial/Industrial Water Supply

• Other Water Supply

• Agriculture/Food Processing"


Valerie Grover, Dakota County Groundwater Protection Supervisor, gave a presentation to Commissioners, providing background regarding the proposal and County Ordinance 114, which regulates wells within Dakota County and is being cited at providing legal authority for the proposed moratorium. Board Chair Slavik expressed concern regarding how the moratorium would affect the construction of wells used for irrigation of agricultural land (listen starting at the 1:23:45 mark of the meeting audio). However, Ms. Grover clarified that while the proposed moratorium would apply to new wells used for industrial food processing, it would not apply to irrigation wells. The DNR has information about the water use categories referenced within the proposed moratorium here.

The public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on May 5, 2020. It is not yet clear whether the hearing will be conducted electronically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about the hearing and proposed moratorium are available here. "Written comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on April 30, 2020. Email comments are preferred and can be sent to valerie.grover@co.dakota.mn.us. You may also mail your comments to the Dakota County Environmental Resource Department, ATTN: Ordinance No. 114, 14955 Galaxie Avenue, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124.


Interested persons attending the public hearing shall have the right to provide written or oral comments during the public hearing. The public may submit comments for the public hearing via email to countyadmin@co.dakota.mn.us."


Board Chair Slavik was kind enough to join us at our January 2020 meeting and discuss this topic and water quality and quantity issues in general at length. Video of that meeting is available here and the slides from the meeting are available here.

In November 2019, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cilek v. Office of the Minn. Secretary of State, et al. The court considered whether the Secretary of State's office must release certain voter data to the public under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA), including whether a voter's status is active, inactive, or challenged, the basis for any challenge to a voter's registration, and voting history. Both a state district court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the information must be released. The plaintiff in the case is the executive director of the Minnesota Voters Alliance, which claims that Minnesota elections are plagued by widespread fraud and that the fraud skews in favor of DFL candidates.

On April 8, 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court published a 5-2 decision, reversing the Minnesota Court of Appeals and holding that the Secretary of State's office properly withheld the requested voter data. The majority ruled that a provision of the MGDPA, Minn. Stat. § 13.607, subd. 6, "clearly restricts access to registered voter lists to what is allowed by section 201.091. Subdivisions 4 and 5 of section 201.091 clearly give access only to Minnesota voters and then only to the information on the public information lists. Information not on the public information lists is not accessible, except to public officials for specified purposes."

Chief Justice Gildea wrote a dissenting opinion, offering two arguments rejecting the rationale offered by the majority. The first argument is that § 13.607, subd. 6, "is not about classification of data; it is about access to data," meaning that "it does nothing to change the public classification of the data at issue." The second argument within the dissenting opinion is that § 201.091, subd. 4, simply does not apply, because its scope is limited to a public information list and the plaintiff sought "data that is not part of a registered voter list or public information list."

More information about the case is available in stories published by the Star Tribune, MPR News, and The Associated Press.

Updated: 17 hours ago

On April 7, 2020, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution calling for a public hearing regarding a proposed 1-year moratorium on new wells that would extract large quantities of groundwater. The moratorium would prohibit "the construction on new wells estimated to use a water volume greater than 10,000 gallons per day or 1,000,000 gallons per year for the following proposed water uses:

• Commercial/Industrial Water Supply

• Other Water Supply

• Agriculture/Food Processing"

If the resolution is approved, the hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on May 5, 2020. It is not yet clear whether the hearing would be conducted electronically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available within the meeting materials for the April 7 Board meeting beginning at page 119. Comments may be emailed to countyadmin@co.dakota.mn.us. The April 7 meeting begins at 9 a.m. and can be livestreamed here.

Dakota County Board Chair Mike Slavik was kind enough to join us at our January 2020 meeting and discuss this topic and water quality and quantity issues in general at length. Video of that meeting is available here and the slides from the meeting are available here.

Update: The resolution calling for a public hearing was unanimously approved. More info here.

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