BILL STATUS UPDATE: Senate Bill 5740 passed the Senate on Friday, March 8 (see below), and is awaiting scheduling for an Executive Session in the House Consumer Protection & Business Committee.

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2019

Contacts:
Jason Erskine / 206-604-7085
Cathy MacCaul / 206-218-5915

State Senate Passes Bill Aimed at Helping Washingtonians Save
“Secure Choice Savings Program” passes with bipartisan vote of 31-17

Olympia, WA – On Friday, March 8, the Washington State Senate took an important step in ensuring a more secure financial future for Evergreen State workers who don’t currently have access to a retirement savings option at work. The Senate passed the Secure Choice Savings Program (SB 5740) by a bipartisan vote of 31-17.

“Right now, more than 1 million Washington employees go to work each day without a simple way to save for the future,” said AARP Washington State Director Doug Shadel. “Yet we know that workers are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they can do so at work.”

The Secure Choice Savings Program provides an easy, low-cost retirement savings option to help small businesses provide a way for their employees to save. It helps workers grow the savings they need to take control of their future and helps small businesses compete with the benefit packages provided by larger employers.

“This bill will allow more people to save for retirement and be prepared for the future,” said Travis Rosenthal, owner of Tango, Rumba and Sand Point Grill in Seattle and member of the Washington Hospitality Association. “I testified in support of this bill in committee and am happy to see it pass in the Senate. Like many other small business owners, I am invested in my employees’ success and that includes finding ways to help them save for retirement. We are now one step closer to that goal,” said Rosenthal.

The professionally managed, self-sustaining program will allow workers to:

Make saving easy. The program automatically makes contributions to employee savings accounts through payroll deductions and allows them to keep their account as they progress from job to job.
Put their money to work. Money saved is money earned. Automatic enrollment simplifies the process of saving for retirement by transforming a confusing process – whether to save, how much to save, and how to invest – into a simple choice.
Keep them in control. The Auto-IRA program is completely voluntary so employees can opt out at any time. The program gives workers complete control over their own retirement savings account, putting them in the driver’s seat.

“AARP applauds the primary bill sponsors’ leadership – Senators Mark Mullet (D-5), Steve Hobbs (D-44), Steve Conway (D-29), and Kevin Van De Wege (D-24), and we thank those Senators who voted YES on this critical piece of legislation. We look forward to the House following the example set by the Senate and sending Secure Choice to Governor Inslee for his signature,” said Shadel.

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About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With more than 940,000 members in Washington State, and a nationwide presence of nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit aarp.org/wa or follow @aarpwa