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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Medical Debt Malpractice

Millions of Americans are contacted by debt collectors every year over debt related to medical expenses. This review of complaints submitted to the CFPB suggest that many consumers contacted about medical debt should not have been contacted in the first place, and that many contacts involve aggressive or inappropriate tactics.  

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News Release | CALPIRG | Consumer Protection

New report from leading consumer group shows millions are victims of aggressive tactics from medical debt collectors

The consumer group CALPIRG released the ninth in a series of reports that review complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  The latest report explores consumer complaints about medical debt, a major source of problems for consumers, since medical debt items on credit reports are often wrong or about the wrong consumer.  The report also demonstrates the need to defend the CFPB from partisan and special interest attacks.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Most California Schools Aren't Testing Water for Lead

In response to growing concerns about lead in school drinking water, the State Water Board launched a new initiative in January to offer schools free lead tests for their drinking water. Last week, the State Water Board released data showing that less than 5% of schools signed up for the free tests. In 38 counties, not a single school has requested a test.

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Media Hit | Public Health

Op-Ed in San Diego Union Tribune: California must do more to protect kids from lead exposure at schools

A recent string of reports have revealed lead-contaminated drinking water at several San Diego area elementary schools. Just last week, a therapy dog alerted school officials to tainted water in a charter school classroom. When dogs are sounding the alarm about lead-contaminated water, it’s pretty clear that more needs to be done in California to protect kids from this serious threat to their health.

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Blog Post | Transportation

PIRG to FTC: Used Cars Subject To Recalls Are Not “Safe” | Michael Landis

You’d think that a car dealer couldn’t say that a used car is “safe” if that car is subject to a safety recall (like the Takata airbag recall or the GM ignition switch recall).  But, because of a recent action taken by the Federal Trade Commission, used car dealers can do just that.  To fix this obvious problem, U.S. PIRG and other leading car safety advocacy groups—Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) and the Center for Auto Safety—have sued the FTC and are asking the court to invalidate the FTC’s action.

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Media Hit | Public Health

California Enacts Strictest Animal Antibiotic Law in the U.S.

But consumer demand is driving more companies to kick the antibiotic habit. "I think we’re seeing the marketplace change, and this legislation will continue to push it in that direction," said Jason Pfeifle, public health advocate at the California Public Interest Research Group, a consumer group that supports the new law.

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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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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Contribution Limits And Competitiveness

For years, academics, political theorists, and campaign finance reformers have debated the causal relationship between campaign contribution limits and the outcome of elections. Some argue that limiting campaign contributions amounts to "incumbent protection;" others contend that limits make challengers more competitive. This study is the first of its kind to comprehensively examine the states with contribution limits and empirically measure changes in competitiveness.

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Report | CALPIRIG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Privacy Denied

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Common Sense Accounting Reforms For California Investors And Taxpayers

The California marketplace is plagued by increasing conflict-of-interest problems that lead to inaccurate corporate audits, an upsurge in “earnings restatements”, and a loss of investor confidence.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Rent-A-Bank Payday Lending:

One consequence of deregulation of interest rates, high credit card interest rates and high bank fees has been the rapid growth of the alternative financial services (or fringe banking) industry, which includes check cashing outlets, payday loan companies, rent-to-own stores, high cost second mortgage companies, sub-prime auto lenders, traditional pawn shops and the growing business of auto title pawn companies. This report examines payday lending in detail.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Election, Inc.

The presence of corporate money in California politics is one of the biggest challenges facing our democracy. The federal government has long realized that corporations, as fundamentally economic institutions, have no place in the political process. Corporate contributions to federal candidates were banned in 1907.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Free Cookies - Strings Attached | Jon Fox

The price consumers pay to access most online content is the tracking of their every click on the World Wide Web by data miners and ad networks. Consumer and privacy advocates are seeking to address such online tracking through Do-Not-Track regulation.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Public Utility De-Regulation: A Losing Game for Consumers | Jon Fox

San Francisco Chronicle reportes that state de-regulation of copper-wire phone lines leads to skyrocketing price hikes for consumers.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Consumers Push Back, Stand UP for Privacy | Jon Fox

2012 was a watershed year for consumers.  Over the past year millions of Internet users took action to protect a safe and open Internet.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Citing Safety Concerns, Buckyballs maker to stop selling magnetic toys | Jon Fox

Maker magnetic Buckyballs announces that it will stop selling dangerous product.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Food

California’s Initiative to label GMOs defeated, but States taking up the Fight | Jon Fox

Unfazed by the defeat of Prop 37 in California, consumer groups are working across states for labeling and have united as the Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling.

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