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Legislation designed to pave the way for a private retirement plan affecting millions of California private-sector workers was signed into law Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

A companion bill also signed by the governor, however, requires more study regarding the feasibility of such a retirement plan and that the Legislature take a final vote before implementation.

Democratic Sen. Kevin de León of Los Angeles pushed the two measures, Senate Bills 1234 and 923, respectively.

De Leon's goal is to create a voluntary savings plan in which private-sector workers would be guaranteed a minimal rate of return, through insurance, to supplement their Social Security retirement income.

The concept is to have private-sector workers contribute 3 percent of their pay, with the money pooled in a state-administered fund that would be professionally and conservatively managed and invested.

About $1 million must be raised in private funds - perhaps through nonprofit groups and public policy think tanks - to undertake a market analysis designed to determine the feasibility of de Leon's plan.

In the final days of the legislative session last month, Brown sought and received the requirements placed in SB 923 -- that lawmakers take a final vote before implementation and that a board overseeing the program be increased from seven to nine members, five of which would gubernatorial appointees or officials of his administration.


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