Senate Bill 1234, authored by Democratic Sen. Kevin de León, cleared the Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations on a 4-1 vote. In favor: Sens. Ted Lieu, D-Torrence; Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; Mark Leno, D-San Francisco and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco.
Republican Sen. Mark Wyland, of Solana Beach, cast the lone no vote. Sens. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, and Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, didn't vote.
The measure creates a state-run "California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust" that would set up professionally-managed retirement savings accounts for private-sector workers.
Opponents -- insurers, a variety of trade industries and the California Chamber of Commerce, among others -- contend it establishes a needless new bureaucracy, creates uncertainty for employers and damages businesses that already sell retirement savings vehicles.
Critics have also charged that Democrats offered up the measure to counter pressure they've felt to change public employee pensions. Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg rejected that notion and has said on numerous occasions that Democrats, who hold a legislative majority, will enact substantive pension reform legislation this year.
SB 1234 now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
PHOTO: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento (left), and Sen. Kevin de Léon, D-Los Angeles, walk to an event where they unveiled legislation on Feb. 23 to create a state-run retirement system for private sector workers in California. Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press