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Media Hit | Budget

California gets an “F” for transparency of government spending

California receives an F when it comes to government spending transparency, according to a study by the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Report: Spirit is Most Complained-About Airline

SACRAMENTO — Spirit Airlines passengers are most likely to complain about their experience, according to a report released today by the CALPIRG Education Fund. Among major airlines, Spirit generates the most complaints for its size and generates an increasing number of complaints each year. Other most-complained about firms include Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

The Unfriendly Skies

It seems as if every consumer has an airline problem story—how they were trapped on the tarmac, tricked by fees, missed their connection, or lost their bag. What many consumers don’t know is that they have a number of new rights as well as a right to complain, both to the airline and to the government. This report tracks five years of consumer complaints and highlights which airlines received the most complaints and what kinds of complaints were most common.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Budget

California Receives an “F” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

SACRAMENTO — California received an F when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. 

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Media Hit | Democracy

Reformers in California assail Supreme Court campaign-finance decision

“We’ve seen what’s happening in Sacramento right now with pay-to-play politics. With this decision, the Supreme Court is codifying pay-to-play politics,” said Austin Price, field director for CALPRIG, the California Public Interest Research Group.

The ruling will have no effect on state-level campaigns in California, as the state’s campaign finance law does not limit the aggregate amount any donor can contribute to candidates for state office. The state law, like the federal law, limits the amount donors can contribute to any one candidate, and the court’s decision allows those individual limits to remain in place.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Food

New Farm Bill Contains Massive Taxpayer Handouts To Big Ag

CALPIRG urges Congress to vote NO on the Farm Bill. At a time of supposed fiscal caution, this bill would put taxpayers on the hook for another five years of billion-dollar handouts to huge, profitable agribusinesses. 

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Media Hit | Higher Ed

College textbook sticker shock causes students to leave books on the shelves

Oakland Tribune: Two-thirds of college students surveyed said that they hadn't bought a required textbook at least once because it was too expensive, according to a national report released Monday by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a coalition of statewide student organizations.

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Media Hit | Public Health

Take Steps to Prevent Chemical Spills

CALPIRG's Legislative Advocate, Garo Manjikian, responds to the Chemical Security Accident in West Virginia in this published letter to the editor in the Sacramento Bee. 

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Media Hit | Democracy

Students Rally Against Citizens United

The California Public Interest Research Group and Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego.) held a rally at Warren Mall on Jan. 21, where they spoke in favor of overturning Citizens United. Representatives from Money out of Politics and Common Cause, two grassroots organizations, were also invited to speak.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Los Angeles a Hot Zone for Chemical Risks

Los Angeles, CA - CALPIRG and other community leaders pushed the Obama administration to take bold strides to reduce the danger posed to communities by high-risk chemical facilities surrounding Los Angeles during a public listening session at UCLA.  The listening session is part of an Executive Order from President Obama issued in response to accidents like the tragedy in West, TX tragedy that killed 14 people and razed nearby schools and homes, and the 2012 explosion at the Richmond, CA Chevron refinery that sent 15,000 people to the hospital.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Comments on the Blue Shield of California Proposal to Increase Small Employer Health Insurance Rates, Effective July 1, 2013.

After analysis of the complete filing – inclusive of the three subsequent submissions – it appears that for the most part, Blue Shield provided sufficient background data for the requested rate increase. However, we note that it took repeated requests for Blue Shield to provide the information necessary to justify the rate increase.

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Prescription for Danger

New report shows that compounding pharmacies have been exploiting loopholes in the regulatory system for at least a decade.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom—a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States—is over.

Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago, and fewer per person than we did at the end of Bill Clinton’s first term. The unique combination of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom—from cheap gas prices to the rapid expansion of the workforce during the Baby Boom generation—no longer exists. Meanwhile, a new generation—the Millennials—is demanding a new American Dream less dependent on driving.

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Report | CALPIRG | Budget

Picking Up the Tab 2013

Academic studies conclude tax haven abuse costs the United States approximately $150 billion in tax revenues every year. Multinational corporations account for $90 billion and individuals the rest.  Even when tax haven abusers act perfectly legally, they force other Americans to shoulder their tax burden. Every dollar in taxes they avoid by using tax havens must be balanced by other Americans paying higher taxes, coping with cuts to government programs, or increasing the federal debt. 

 

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

CalHEERS: Protecting Consumer Data by Developing and Implementing Strong Physical, Technical and Administrative Security Safeguards

CALPIRG Education Fund is pleased to provide recommendations on best practices and standards for the development and implementation of strong physical, technical and administrative security safeguards for the CalHEERS data ecosystem.

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Blog Post | Budget, Consumer Protection, Higher Ed

New FCC rules to prevent cramming on landline phone bills | Jon Fox

FCC announces new rules to stop “Cramming” on land lines, ignores wireless phone lines.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

LA Times highlights failure to provide cheap broadband Internet | Jon Fox

LA Times columnist David Lazarus highlights the fact that the USA is falling behind the rest of the world in providing access to low coast quality Internet service.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Release new tools to help students manage debt | Jon Fox

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launches a beta version of the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper - an interactive online tool designed to help students plan for the costs of higher education.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB to announce mortgage servicing rules and other consumer news of the week | Ed Mierzwinski

(Update: phottos added.) Today, U.S. PIRG will be an invited guest as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposes new mortgage servicing rules to prevent, among other things, a recurrence of the robo-signing scandal. Among the other important news items of the week, in case you missed it, Ohio has made it harder for aggrieved consumers to obtain redress when ripped off.

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Blog Post | Tax

Tax Credits For Oil Spills

From guest blogger Chris Jones: My brother, Gordon Jones, was one of the eleven hard-working men killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon deepwater oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. Unlike BP, I believe my brother was more than a number or tax credit.

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the state Legislature to ban the mass distribution of antibiotics to livestock.

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