Over the last couple of weeks there have been several updates on the nomination of the Secretary of Labor and with state/local retirement plans for private workers.
Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Labor. Last Thursday, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a confirmation hearing for Eugene Scalia, Department of Labor (DOL) secretary nominee. ERIC sent a letter supporting the nomination and encouraging the committee to forward with his nomination. There were very few questions pertaining to benefits—the few he received pertained to multiemployer plans, the fiduciary rule, mental, health parity, and the opioid crisis. Most of the questions simply asked whether he would work to resolve these issues. Most of the conversation revolved around the fiduciary rule. He was asked about recusing himself from DOL work on the fiduciary rule to which he responded that he would seek advice from the Ethics Office. He also denied that he would seed DOL authority to the SEC on the fiduciary provisions. In addition to these questions, Senator Alexander put in a plug for Association Health Plans in his closing statement. Despite a number of concerns raised by Democrats with respect to his cases/positions in private practice, his confirmation is expected to pass out of the Committee on a party-line vote which will be held on September 24.
CalSavers Litigation. On September 13, the U.S Department of Justice submitted a Statement of Interest in the case, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association et al. v. California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, as preempted by ERISA. While the impact of the statement is uncertain in the Ninth Circuit, it does seem to set up definite grounds for appeal if the court decides in CalSavers favor.
New York City Retirement Program Proposal. New York City is considering legislation to implement an automatic IRA program for employees that do not have access to retirement plans. Today, ERIC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor. The testimony focused on preserving ERISA preemption and recommended that the proposed legislation be amended to completely exempt employers that offer ERISA plans.
If you have questions or would like to discuss any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Article by Aliya Robinson, Senior Vice President of Retirement and Compensation Policy