2009 -- H 5696

Enacted 07/16/09



J O I N T  R E S O L U T I O N





     Introduced By: Representatives Handy, Ferri, Gallison, Ehrhardt, and Shallcross Smith

     Date Introduced: February 26, 2009




     WHEREAS, People are living longer and spending more years out of the work force; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Islanders and all Americans have been consistently under-saving for

retirement; and

     WHEREAS, Forty-nine percent (49%) of Rhode Island employers do not currently offer

retirement benefits to their full-time employees; and

     WHEREAS, Of those employers that do offer retirement benefits to their employees,

only nineteen percent (19%) offer such plans to their part-time workers; and

     WHEREAS, Fewer than forty seven percent (47%) of Rhode Islanders, age 65 or older,

receive retirement income in addition to Social Security; and

      WHEREAS, Retirement income is even less for low income retired women; and

      WHEREAS, Social Security benefits alone are insufficient for retirement, thereby

placing the burden of caring for many of the subsequently impoverished elderly onto the state;


     WHEREAS, Universal Voluntary Retirement Accounts (UVRAs) can help individuals by

providing a way to save for their retirement; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That a special legislative commission be and the same is hereby created

consisting of eight (8) members: two (2) of whom shall be members of the House of

Representatives, not more than one from the same political party, to be appointed by the Speaker

of the House; two (2) of whom shall be members of the Senate, not more than one from the same

political party, to be appointed by the President of the Senate; one of whom shall be the Rhode

Island General Treasurer, or designee; one of whom shall be a member of AARP, to be appointed

by the commission co-chairs; one of whom shall be a member of the local business community,

to be appointed by the commission co-chairs; and one of whom shall be a member of the public

employees union, to be appointed by the commission co-chairs.

      In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory

commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a General Assembly

resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu

of a legislator, provided that the majority leader or the minority leader of the political party which

is entitled to the appointment consent to the member of the general public.

      The purpose of said commission shall be to study and plan Universal Voluntary

Retirement Accounts (UVRAs), with features and recommendations that include, but are not

limited to:

      A defined contribution plan with a pre-selected menu of investment options;

      Administration by the Employee Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI);

      Investment oversight by the state investment commission;

      Tax-deferred payroll deductions; retirement account portability between jobs;

       A two-tier system with workplace based individual retirement accounts open to all

workers; and

      A deferred compensation 401(k)-type program or SIMPLE IRA-type program, open to all

employers that choose to participate for their employees.

      As part of the process the Commission shall:

      Evaluate the most efficient methods for providing this service and ways to avoid

competition with existing private sector vehicles; and

      Undertake the legal and development work to determine how to implement a UVRA

program, managed through the ERSRI, directly or by contract.

       The commission shall consult with the Department of Business Regulation, the State

Investment Commission, private sector retirement plan administrators and providers and other

relevant sectors of the financial services industry, organizations promoting increased economic

opportunities for individuals, employers and any other individuals or entities that the Commission

determines relevant to the development of an effective and efficient method for implementing and

operating the program.

      Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at

the call of the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate who shall each appoint a

commission co-chair.

       Vacancies in said commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.

       The membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.

       All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,

documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or

desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.

       The Joint Committee on Legislative Services is hereby authorized and directed to provide

suitable quarters for said commission; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the

General Assembly no later than January 14, 2010 and said commission shall expire on March 14,