John Chiang, Kevin de León Stay Strong in Fight for Retirement Security

State Treasurer John Chiang and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said that California’s Secure Choice program remains on track to provide retirement security to nearly 6.8 million private-sector workers who do not have access to a retirement savings plan from their employer.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate passed House Joint Resolution 66, which reversed a Department of Labor ruling that provides guidance to state sponsored IRA programs such as Secure Choice. On Wednesday, President Trump signed the legislation and it became law following intense lobbying from a handful of Wall Street interests seeking to end the program.

Regardless, the California Secure Choice program stands on firm legal and statutory ground and will proceed without delay.

“President Trump and Congressional Republicans style themselves as populist champions of every-day Americans, but instead they have acted to align themselves with Wall Street interests,” Treasurer Chiang said. “While I am deeply disappointed in this most recent example of the typical Beltway deal-making, which always seems to favor Wall Street bankers over Main Street workers, I am more resolute than ever to standing-up Secure Choice so that all Californians can have a dignified retirement.”

The Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board hired the law firm K&L Gates to provide advice on the viability of the program going forward.

“This legal opinion affirms what we’ve been saying all along—California has the right and ability to move forward, irrespective of Congressional Republicans that are trying to block us,” author of the landmark legislation to create Secure Choice (SB 1234), Senator de León, said. “Millions of hardworking Californians will not be denied retirement security due to a handful of Wall Street bankers.”

The Treasurer has consulted with legislative leaders and legal counsel and said he is “confident that California is on a strong legal footing in moving forward to make Secure Choice a reality.”

Secure Choice, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last November, has been hailed as the most significant expansion in retirement security since the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935.

The Secure Choice plan enables employees to save for retirement through payroll contributions. The program will be self-sustaining through participant fees and will impose a minimal cost to employers and no cost to taxpayers.

The mandate for employers to make the program available to their employees will not become operative for at least two years and will be phased in over a three-year period based on the number of employees in a firm.

AALDEF Poll: 30% of Asian American Voters Cast Ballots for First Time in 2016 Presidential Election

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) today released the results of its 2016 multilingual exit poll, which found the overwhelming majority of Asian Americans backed Democratic candidates for President and Congress. The largest Asian ethnic groups in the exit poll were Chinese (35%), Asian Indian (13%), Bangladeshi (11%), and Korean (10%). Nearly one-third (30%) were first-time voters.

(CAPA21 is not affiliated with AALDEF; the information shared here was taken from their April 18, 2017 press release.)

The nonpartisan multilingual exit poll of 13,846 Asian American voters in the November 2016 elections was taken in 14 states in jurisdictions with large Asian American populations. The exit poll was conducted in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Four out of five (79%) of Asian Americans polled voted for Hillary Clinton, 18% voted for Donald Trump, and 2% voted for another candidate. Of those surveyed, 59% were enrolled in the Democratic Party and 11% were enrolled in the Republican Party. More than a quarter of those polled (27%) were not enrolled in any political party, while 3% were enrolled in another party,

The vast majority of respondents (78%) supported stricter gun control laws. Overall, 65% supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and 65% supported laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. One half (50%) of voters polled said they do not think that the police treat racial and ethnic groups equally.

“Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the country and have the highest rates of naturalization. Despite facing numerous barriers, Asian Americans made their voices heard, particularly in close elections. AALDEF will continue to mobilize volunteers to protect all voters in as many jurisdictions as possible, including in the 2017 elections in New York City, Boston, New Jersey, and Virginia,” said Jerry Vattamala, AALDEF Democracy Program Director.

AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung said: “With overwhelming Asian American support for Democratic candidates in the 2016 elections and a rejection of the Trump agenda, it will be important to watch the growth of Asian American voter participation in the 2018 midterm elections.”

Key findings include:

  • One-third of Asian Americans polled are limited English proficient (“LEP”).
  • Nearly four of five Asian Americans voted for Hillary Clinton for President.
  • Asian American women supported Hillary Clinton at higher levels in 2016 as compared to Obama in 2012.
  • Of the Asian Americans who voted for Trump, Protestants and Catholics showed the greatest support.
  • The majority of Asian Americans voted for the Democratic candidate in most congressional races.
  • Asian Americans cited the economy and jobs most frequently as an important factor influencing their vote for President.
  • Voting barriers persisted.

For more details of AALDEF’s report, visit AALDEF.org. You can download the complete report PDF here.