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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

From Deceit to Transformation

A new report from CALPIRG Education finds that $381.3 from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement is headed to California to help clean up the state’s transportation system and recommends using the funds to purchase electric vehicle fast charging stations for the state’s highways along with an aggressive expansion of all-electric transit buses to replace aging, dirty, diesel buses.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Report Finds 1 In 4 Consumers Feel "Threatened" By Debt Collector Tactics | Ed Mierzwinski

We joined Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray and Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine for release of new CFPB data on debt collector abuses. Fully 1 in 4 consumers feel "threatened" by abusive, possibly illegal, debt collector tactics. The release also included an emphasis on problems with the "debt buyer" industry, comprised of firms that buy older, uncollected debt for as little as less than a penny on the dollar.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Financial Reform

CFPB Taps Former Pentagon Legal Official to Head Office of Servicemember Affairs

We join National Consumer Law Center, Americans for Financial Reform and other leading groups in a release commending the appointment of senior Pentagon official Colonel Paul Kantwill (U.S. Army, Retired) to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs. The CFPB plays an important role in protecting servicemembers, veterans and their families from financial predators.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB Slams Two Credit Bureaus For Deceptive Marketing, Expect Experian Next | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau nailed two "big 3" credit bureaus --Trans Union and Equifax -- for deceptive marketing of their over-priced, under-performing credit monitoring subscription products.  Combined fines and consumer restitution total $23 million. I predict that the CFPB will also bring a case against the remaining bureau, Experian, and that it will pay much more, because Experian really has led the way in aggressively marketing these tawdry products. They don't prevent identity theft, nor do they always accurately disclose your credit score, at fees of up to $16.95/month or more. Yikes!

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

This New Year, Celebrate the CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

This month, we published our 8th report based on analyzing consumer complaints collected in the CFPB's Public Consumer Complaint Database. The release of "Big Banks, Big Overdraft Fees" provides a good year-end opportunity to summarize a few of the reasons to be thankful for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took over in July 2011 as the first federal regulator with just one job: protecting consumers from unfair financial practices. The idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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News Release | CALPIRG

California Sets Strictest Antibiotics Standards for Livestock Use in the Nation

California Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law legislation by Senator Jerry Hill that for the first time ever sets comprehensive limits on the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat production in the U.S.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Democracy

California's New Motor Voter Act Signed into Law

Executive Director Emily Rusch's statement when Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1461, the New Motor Voter Act, into law. The bill will automate voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles, helping to reduce low voter registration rates in California and increase participation in our elections. 

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Media Hit | Democracy

Los Angeles Times: Gov. Brown approves automatic voter registration for Californians

Voting rights activists, including CalPIRG Executive Director Emily Rusch, said the voter registration bill was much-needed medicine for a system that is ailing. "A well-functioning democracy depends on the participation of its citizens," Rusch said, noting that the registration gap is most severe for young people.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Poll Shows Bi-Partisan Support for New Rules to Prevent Chemical Disasters

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering new chemical plant safety rules, and a new poll of likely 2016 voters shows strong support among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents for rules that would reduce or eliminate the hazards posed by thousands of chemical plants across the nation.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Democracy

CA SUPREME COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS TO DECIDE PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO INSTRUCT THEIR REPRESENTATIVES

Today, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether Californians should have the right to vote on Proposition 49—a voter instruction measure calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.  The case, brought by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association against the State, seeks to shut down the only direct pathway Californians have to instruct their representatives and decide their future.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Higher Ed

Limited Knowledge:

Universities are unable to purchase vital journal subscriptions that help boost the quality and success of new academic research. Fortunately, new and innovative solutions are growing in popularity and have the potential to change the future of academic communication.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Health Care

'Tis Always the Season for Giving

Desperate to rein in skyrocketing prescription drug costs, lawmakers, healthcare plans and individual consumers are taking a much closer look at the promotional practices of the pharmaceutical industry. One aspect that has come under heavy scrutiny is a marketing technique known as detailing. This white paper examines the mechanics and potential harms of pharmaceutical detailing, describes the steps that have been taken to address those problems, and explores policy options for addressing the issue.

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Report | The Failure of Food Companies to Disclose Risks of Genetically Engineered Crops to Shareholders

Duty to Disclose

Genetically engineered foods may pose financial risks to the food companies buying and selling genetically engineered crops, but most food companies have failed to alert their shareholders to these potential liabilities.

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Report | CALPIRG | Democracy

Tying the Hands of States

States have long been the laboratories for innovative public policy, particularly in the realm of environmental and consumer protection. State and local legislatures, smaller and often more nimble than the federal government, can develop and test novel policies to address problems identified by local constituents. If a certain policy works, other states can try it. If the policy fails, the state or local government can quickly modify the policy without having affected residents in all 50 states. Success at the state level then often gives rise to federal policy.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Mistakes Do Happen:

The most common reflection of our reputation as a trustworthy consumer is our credit report. Unfortunately, the information contained in our credit reports, which are bought and sold daily to nearly anyone who requests and pays for them, does not always tell a true story.

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Blog Post | Budget

In The Capitol: Holding Corporations Accountable | Pedro Morillas

AB 2439 (Eng)—Requires the 1500 largest publicly traded corporate taxpayers in California to disclose the amount they pay in taxes to the state.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

California AG Launches New Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit | Jon Fox

CALPIRG applauds the creation of the Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit in the Department of Justice.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

FTC Offers Consumers Tips on Unwanted Robocalls | Jon Fox

FTC Offers Consumers Tips on How to Respond to Unwanted Robocalls + Helpful Video.

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Blog Post | Health Care

We're not done yet: Next steps for CA health care | Pedro Morillas

The Supreme Court has upheld the national health care law, and this is really good news for consumers.

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