New Illinois law enrolls 2.5 million workers in retirement plans (Crain's Chicago Business)

By Greg Hinz

With not a vote to spare, Illinois lawmakers approved a bill that would enroll 2.5 million private-sector workers in a retirement savings program unless they opt out.

The action came yesterday evening when the state Senate voted 30-25 to ratify amendments to S.B. 2758, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston. Exactly 30 votes were needed; two senators did not vote.

Earlier in the day, the House passed the measure by a somewhat wider 67-45 margin. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the Biss bill into law.

No American state now has anything quite like the program, which would apply to employees of firms with at least 25 employees who do not have access to an employer-provided retirement account. That may explain some of the opposition, especially from the insurance industry and Springfield Republicans, who say the measure was rushed through and should have been left for Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner to consider.

But Biss said a similar measure was endorsed both by President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Sen. John McCain in the 2008 election, and he expects great things from it.

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