2009 -- H 5696
J O I N T R E S O L U T I O N
CREATING A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION TO STUDY THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF UNIVERSAL VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS
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
percent (49%) of
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
A defined contribution plan with a pre-selected menu of investment options;
Administration by the
Employee Retirement System of
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
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
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,