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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Commerce Department

Also known as:
Minnesota Department of Commerce
Active dates:1983 -

The Department of Commerce is responsible for seeing that Minnesota's laws to protect consumer interests and ensure uniform, fair rules in business are observed in the industries of banking, energy, insurance, real estate, securities, and telecommunications. The responsibilities of each division within the department vary depending on the structure of that division's industry and its requirements. Some divisions focus on licensing or analyzing insurance policies, while others advocate on behalf of the public interest.

The Department also operates Minnesota's Unclaimed Property program and administers the state Petrofund as well as Minnesota Relay, which provides deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired citizens access to telecommunications services. (From: Commerce website 3/13/08)

Preceded by:
Commerce Commission

From 1970 to 1982 the Department of Commerce was administered by the Commerce Commission which was composed of the Commissioner of Banks, the Commissioner of Insurance, and the Commissioner of Securities and Real Estate. The Commissioners each headed one of the three regulatory divisions of the department. The Office of Consumer Services was administered by a director. The Commissioners and Director of Consumer Services were appointed by and served at the pleasure of the Governor. One of the commissioners was appointed by the Governor to serve as chairman of the Commission.

In 2001 the enforcement of the rules of the Public Services Department was split between the Public Utilities Commission, the commissioner of transportation, and the commissioner of commerce. The energy division was placed under the Department of Commerce. This change was enacted by Laws of Minnesota 1st Special Session chapter 4 article 6 sections 47-51 effective July 1, 2001 and codified in Minnesota Statutes 216C.

Agency heads:


Michael A. Hatch (July 1, 1983 - January 8, 1990)
Tom Borman (January 9, 1990 - January 1991)
James Miller (acting commissioner, January 1991)
Bert J. McKasy (January 1991 - August 1, 1993)
Jim Ulland (September 1, 1993 - December 1995)
Dave Gruenes (December 26, 1995 - January 4, 1999)
David M. Jennings (January 1999 - August 6, 1999)
Gary LaVasseur (acting commissioner, August 1999)
Steve Minn* (August 1999 - February 2000)
Jim Bernstein (acting commissioner, February 2000 - August 2000)
Jim Bernstein (August 2000 - January 2003)
Glenn Wilson (January 2003 - January 3, 2010)
Michael Rothman (January 12, 2011 - November 17, 2017)
Jessica Looman (November 17, 2017 - January 6, 2019)
Steve Kelley* (January 7, 2019 - September 2020)
Grace Arnold (acting commissioner, September 2020 - April 2021; appointed commissioner on April 15, 2021)

*Steve Kelley and Steve Minn were denied confirmation by the Minnesota Senate.

Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
Governor Walz appoints Grace Arnold as Commissioner of Department of Commerce. News Release - Governor Walz, 4/15/2021.
News clippings and documents: Commissioner of Commerce. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1982-2021.
News clippings and documents: Department of Commerce. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1982-2021.
Record last updated: 11/06/2023

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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