The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974(ERISA) was enacted to provide a uniform body of benefits law to minimize the administrative and financial burdens of complying with conflicting state and federal directives. To accomplish this aim, ERISA � 514 provides that ERISA will preempt all state laws “insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefits plan.” The breadth of this preemption provision has long been the subject of much debate and litigation. The topic takes its latest form in a dispute over whether ERISA’s broad preemption provision preempts state unclaimed property and escheat laws.

Currently, the Department of Labor, the states, and employee benefits plans are fighting over whether ERISA preempts, with several state and circuit courts splitting the victories among the parties. While the issue has been examined by a few courts and the DOL, it has not been looked at under the recent court decision in New York State Conference of Blue Cross & Blue Shield v. Travelers Insurance Company, 514 U.S. 645 (1995).

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