Lawmakers in Maryland and Wisconsin are working to make retirement plans more readily available to private sector employees. Their efforts follow recently enacted California legislation that requires employers to contribute 3% of a worker’s salary to a retirement account.

California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed that bill in 2012. Maryland’s Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday he supports a bill sponsored by Maryland Sen. James Rosapepe that would require employers with more than five employees to either provide retirement plans or let workers have contributions to accounts automatically deducted from their paychecks

A companion bill sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker is pending in the House. The Democratic lawmaker says participation would be voluntary for employees and employers would not be required to contribute matching money.

Meanwhile, democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin are calling for a feasibility study to determine the cost and benefits of creating a similar pension management plan in their state.

Senate Bill 611 was introduced during the Senate session Tuesday and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining and Revenue.

The bill creates a Wisconsin private retirement security board and requires the board to establish a private retirement security plan to provide retirement benefits for residents of Wisconsin who choose to participate in the plan. 

The board will hold at least five public hearings to receive testimony relating to the feasibility study and the recommended design and structure of the plan. 

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