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DOL Sends Proposed Rule on State Plans to OMB

The Department of Labor is moving ahead with its effort to make it easier for states to offer retirement initiatives without running afoul of federal law, sending a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review Sept. 1.

The action, noted in an OMB website posting, could accelerate the launch of state-based retirement programs — programs that would be operating without the limitations of ERISA.

“We are concerned that the potential guidance could create an unlevel playing field, giving state retirement programs a competitive advantage over retirement plans offered by the private sector, said Brian Graff, CEO of the American Retirement Association and Executive Director of NAPA. “The American Retirement Association will definitely be weighing in on this issue.”

In July President Obama directed Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to publish by the end of the year a proposed rule to “provide a clear path forward for the states to create retirement savings programs.” His directive to DOL: clarify how states can move forward with various retirement plan coverage initiatives, including requirements to automatically enroll employees and for employers to offer coverage.