To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security (created in 2002 following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001), homeland security in Minnesota in 2003 operated under the authority of the governor; the public safety commissioner was designated as the state homeland security advisor.
Minnesota's ombudsman for corrections investigates complaints about corrections facilities or the conduct of prison officials. A six-member Ethical Practices Board supervises the registration of some 1,300 lobbyists, monitors the financing of political campaigns, and sees that some 1,000 elected and appointed state officials observe regulations governing conflict of interest and disclosure of personal finances. Minnesota law also provides that legislative meetings of any kind must be open to the public.
The state-aided public school system is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Children, Families, and Learning, which carries out the policies of a nine-member Board of Education appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. Responsible for higher education are the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, elected by the legislature; the boards of trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU), appointed by the governor; and other agencies. The Department of Transportation maintains roads and bridges, enforces public transportation rates, inspects airports, and has responsibility for railroad safety.
Minnesota's Department of Health investigates health problems, disseminates health information, regulates hospitals and nursing homes, and inspects restaurants and lodgings. Health regulations affecting farm produce are administered by the Department of Agriculture. State facilities for the mentally retarded are operated by the Department of Human Services, which administers state welfare programs and provides social services to the aged, the handicapped, and others in need.
The Department of Public Safety registers motor vehicles, licenses drivers, enforces traffic laws, and regulates the sale of liquor. The Department of Military Affairs has jurisdiction over the Minnesota National Guard, and the Department of Corrections operates prisons, reformatories, and parole programs. The Housing Finance Agency aids the construction and rehabilitation of low- and middle-income housing. Laws governing occupational safety, wages and hours, and child labor are enforced by the Department of Labor and Industry, while the Department of Economic Security supervises public employment programs and administers unemployment insurance. Other departments focus on agriculture, commerce, corrections, employee relations, finance, natural resources, public service, revenue, and trade and economic development.