Virtual Town Hall meeting with your legislators: 
This Saturday, January 23rd

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As we enter the 2021 legislative session, I am honored to continue to represent you in the Senate. These days continue to be challenging. COVID-19 has had such a profound impact on our lives, our connections with others, and the economy. The devastating impact of COVID has hit some people and businesses far harder than others, costing some their lives, health, jobs, healthcare, or housing. I remain committed to fighting for COVID relief assistance to those hit hardest by the pandemic, comprehensive healthcare for all Minnesotans, racial justice and safer communities for all, a sustainable, clean energy economy that addresses climate change, and economic justice through paid sick leave, affordable childcare and living wages.

Please join Rep. Athena Hollins, Rep. Alice Hausman, and me for a Virtual Town Hall meeting to discuss these issues and other legislative priorities, as well as constituent questions and ideas.

District 66 Virtual Town Hall Meeting
Rep. Alice Hausman, Rep. Athena Hollins and Sen. John Marty
This Saturday, January 23rd from 10:00-11:30 a.m.

This virtual event is open to everyone. A Facebook account is not needed to view the event. You can either watch the livestream on Facebook or join the Zoom call.
Watch live via Facebook:
Or RSVP to receive the Zoom link:

Warm regards,
John Marty signature 
John Marty


Here is a report on some of the issues Sen. Marty is addressing this session:

COVID-19 Assistance and Vaccines

The Legislature approved and Governor Walz signed into law a bill that provided $216 million in relief to businesses in December 2020. The money was divided into three areas: business relief payments ($88 million), movie theater and convention center grants ($14 million), and county relief grants ($114.8 million). I will continue to push for more assistance for individuals and businesses as we know that far too many still need further help.

Vaccine Distribution: Minnesota has been steadily working through Phase 1a of vaccinations, which includes health care workers, long-term care residents and staff. Unfortunately, the state has not received many of the doses on the timeline they were promised by the federal government. That has led to the inability to inform local distribution points and the public about likely timelines for receiving vaccines. Over 200,000 doses have been administered so far, but there are millions of people waiting. Last week, the Department of Health posted a new vaccine dashboard which gives an overview of how many vaccines have been distributed and administered throughout the state.

In addition, as part of a new statewide pilot project, Minnesotans 65 and older are now able to sign up for a vaccination appointment at one of nine sites by visiting Please be aware that appointment slots are still extremely limited but will be increasing as Minnesota receives more doses.


Wearing Masks at the Capitol


Under Governor Walz’s executive order, Minnesotans are supposed to be wearing masks in most public places. However, the constitutional separation of powers means that the mask requirement might not apply at the Capitol.

Consequently, when we were adopting this year’s Senate Rules, DFL Sen. Melissa Wiklund proposed a rule requiring all Senators and staff to wear masks. That is not a radical notion when we have people from every corner of the state working together in close quarters. Unfortunately, Republican Senators voted against the proposed mask requirement, saying they were only willing to “strongly encourage” mask wearing.

I spoke against the Republican amendment to eliminate the proposed requirement. Unfortunately, it passed on a party line vote. Senator Gazelka already had “strongly encouraged” Senators to wear masks. Yet multiple members of his caucus are not wearing masks, despite a number of staff and legislators with compromised immune systems who are particularly vulnerable to COVID.

Out of 67 Senators, we’ve already lost one Senator to a death from COVID. Yet the Republicans don’t want to require masks because they want to “respect those who may have a different point of view.” I am deeply disappointed – actually, I am outraged – that they are willing to risk the lives of others, rather than wear a mask.


Policing Reform and Public Safety

George Floyd’s murder at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers in May of last year ignited a nation-wide call for fundamental change. People who had never experienced the reality faced by Black Americans when dealing with law enforcement began to understand the inequities and injustices that others face. Many of my legislative colleagues responded to these calls with legislation to hold police accountable. I was proud to support the recommendations of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus of the legislature. Unfortunately, resistance to genuine accountability from the Senate majority meant that the reform bill passed in the July special session did not achieve the real change Minnesotans need and deserve.

For example, although the bill stopped public funding for “warrior” training, it did not prevent the Minneapolis Police Federation from continuing to pay for this harmful training on its own. Warrior training teaches officers to view all encounters as a threat. A national police training expert said warrior training “made police officers very paranoid,” and a Florida State University (FSU) study of policing found that the warrior mentality “often leads to more use of force, making it more likely that the officer or the citizen gets injured.” It also found that the warrior mentality had “more favorable attitudes toward excessive use of force."

As a white man, I do not live with the daily fear that the police will shoot me if I have a broken tail light; I don’t have the fear that if I inadvertently pass a counterfeit $20 bill, I will be tortured and killed by a police officer’s knee. I cannot fully understand the reality that Black people face in this country. We all need to continually listen and try to understand the experiences of others, and then respond accordingly.

We cannot accept officers with a “shoot first and ask questions later” mentality. I will continue to push for full prohibition of warrior training.

Last week, I also introduced a bill (SF 76) to demilitarize police departments by preventing them from acquiring federal military equipment, including armored vehicles and grenade launchers. This type of equipment only serves to further escalate and militarize interactions with police.


Universal Healthcare – But Just for One Disease?  

One might say that there was some bipartisan support for universal healthcare that came through early in the pandemic. A New York Times columnist described it as “Republicans Want Medicare for All, but Just for This One Disease.” That bipartisan support included coverage for COVID tests and much of the treatment because people recognized that when you are trying to stop the spread of an infectious disease, it is a bad idea to ignore a significant portion of the population who have been infected.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided countless examples of the urgent need for a truly universal healthcare system that is not tied to employment and covers everyone. We cannot afford to continue down the expensive path that our dysfunctional health coverage system has wrought, especially when we could save money while covering everyone, simply by cutting bureaucracy and negotiating fair prices.

We will have a healthier society and be better prepared for future pandemics if we build a commonsense healthcare system. I am continuing to push my legislation to create such a system through the Minnesota Health Plan, which would cover all Minnesotans for all their medical needs.


State Government Should Not be a Medical Debt Collector

A recent news story revealed that the state was being used like a debt collection agency to collect medical debt from low income people. Current law allows private healthcare providers to use the state to help collect medical debt from people with annual incomes as low as $15,000 per year. Most industrialized countries don’t have anyone struggling to pay medical debt. It is wrong to use the state to collect debts from low-income workers who have medical debt they cannot pay. As a result, I am working on legislation to repeal the law which makes the state a debt collector for medical bills.


Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft 

ImageThieves who cut off catalytic converters from the bottom of automobiles create a costly problem for car and truck owners – a problem that has been rapidly increasing throughout Minnesota. I introduced legislation last year to address the issue. In October, we held a town hall to discuss this issue, you can view it by clicking here.

In the next few weeks, I will be reintroducing legislation aimed at making it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen catalytic converts to scrap metal dealers. These thefts often happen in broad daylight and in a couple minutes a thief can make a couple hundred dollars, leaving the car owner with a repair bill that often tops $2000. I have heard from many people across the state about how this has impacted them, so I am hopeful that public pressure will build momentum to move this bill forward and address this extremely costly and frustrating problem.

Environmental Protection

I have significant concerns about the major health, environmental, and economic risks to our state from proposed copper sulfide rock mining in Minnesota. Consequently, I will be a co-author of “prove it first” legislation, which would require proponents of the project to prove that it has been done safely anywhere in the United States without polluting local watersheds. Minnesota should not allow our treasured lakes and rivers to be a test site for wealthy international corporations that want to come into our area with experimental plans that put our public health, our economy and our natural resources in danger.  


Opening Legislative Negotiations to the Public

Government transparency and public accountability is a critical issue, and one that has only become more important this session as we conduct many meetings virtually. True representation and informed discussion can occur only with an involved electorate. However, this transparency is often limited at the end of each session, when many of the most important policy and budget decisions are made behind closed doors – in conference committee negotiations and in budget negotiations between the Governor and legislative leaders. 

To fix this problem, I have re-introduced SF 74, which would require all budget and conference committee negotiations to be open to the public. I will continue pushing for this bill by reminding other legislators that if we believe in public access when routine legislation is being discussed, that openness only becomes more important when the most impactful decisions are being made.


Contact Information

Although the legislature is largely operating remotely, we want to stay in touch. We hope you can join our virtual town hall to discuss these and other issues. The meeting will be recorded and available on Facebook for later viewing. If you wish to get in touch with me, please feel free to email me at, reach out to my legislative assistant, Elspeth Cavert, at, or call our office at 651-296-5645.