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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health, Food

Taco Bell to Phase Out Chicken Raised on Routine Antibiotics; Students Host Event to Educate Peers

In a long-awaited victory for medically-important antibiotics, Taco Bell announced it will no longer serve chicken raised on human antibiotics in U.S. locations starting in 2017. Two Maryland PIRG interns this semester seized the opportunity to educate their peers on the dangers of antibiotic-overuse.

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Media Hit | Public Health

Cleaning up Maryland's air

 

How can we help the next generation breathe easier?

 

On time for this year's Air Quality Awareness Week, Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health published new research confirming what we already suspected: Exposure to even small amounts of pollution can lead to lifelong respiratory disorders.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Manufacturers report toxics in wide range of household products | Juliana Bilowich

A national report issued this week titled What Stinks? Toxic Phthalates in Your Home reveals that a group of toxic chemicals are used in a broader range of household products than previously known, including products by Hallmark Cards, The Gap, True Value, and more.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Reducing toxic pollution: Maryland proposes new off-gassing limits | Juliana Bilowich

 

Most of us think of ozone as a good thing – but that’s only partially true. Unlike the “good” ozone in the stratosphere that protects us, ground level or “bad” ozone is a colorless gas that forms just above the earth’s surface, where people, animals, and plants live and breathe.  Ground level ozone can cause airway inflammation even in healthy people and affects susceptible populations more.

 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Federal toxic substance reform threatens Maryland’s chemical protections | Juliana Bilowich

 

We need sensible toxic chemical reform.

The TSCA Modernization Act, which passed both congressional chambers last year but has yet to become law, makes important updates to the way the EPA restricts toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, the new law could also preclude states from taking action on their own to enact chemical protections.

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News Release | Fair Elections Maryland Coalition | Democracy

Key Montgomery County Committee Advances Bill for Fair Elections Campaign Finance Reform

Rockville, MD – The Montgomery County Government Operations Committee today took a huge step forward for fair elections by passing Bill 16-14, which creates a program for county council and executive campaigns that would fight big money interests by empowering small donors in County elections.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

Statement on today’s Senate vote on the constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

“Today’s vote was an incredible milestone in the fight to reclaim our democracy. The Citizens United decision unleashed a tide of big money from mega-donors and super PACs into our elections, which has threatened to drown out the voices of ordinary Americans.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

We urge CFPB to issue safeguards for mobile financial services and privacy

We urge (along with the Center for Digital Democracy) the CFPB to issue rules so consumers can use mobile financial services without placing their privacy at risk or exposing themselves to new forms of predatory lending and other unfair practices. We filed a joint comment in response to a CFPB information request.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

BP Could Take $6.3 Billion Tax Deduction For Gross Negligence In Deepwater Horizon Spill

BP could claim a $6.3 billion tax windfall from settling charges of its gross negligence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster unless the EPA prevents it.

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News Release | Tax

Bank of America settlement loophole creates at least $4 billion burden for taxpayers

        
The Justice Department allows Bank of America to write off most of its legal settlement for mortgage abuses as a tax deduction, shifting at least $4 billion back onto taxpayers.

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Report | Maryland PIRG | Health Care

The $3 Trillion Question

Without health care reform, the United States is projected to spend over $40 trillion on health care in the next decade.  Experts estimate that thirty percent of that spending – up to $12 trillion dollars – will be wasted on ineffective care, pointless red tape, and counterproductive treatments that can actually harm patients. 

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Report | Good Jobs First | Budget

Show Us the Stimulus

Every state government now has a website reporting on its role in implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the $787 billion federal stimulus bill that is shoring up state finances, reinforcing the social safety net and funding job‐creating infrastructure and energy‐efficiency projects. Yet there are wide differences in the quality and quantity of the information the websites offer.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Health Care

The Small Business Dilemma

When it comes to health care, American small business owners are getting a raw deal. While the current insurance marketplace offers some options to larger employers, it too often leaves small business owners on the outside looking in.

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Report | Health Care

The Facts About Comparative Effectiveness Research

As Congressional and public debate over health care reform grows more intense, comparative effectiveness research (CER) has emerged as an unlikely flashpoint of controversy.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

The High Cost of Nuclear Power

Encouraged by growing demand for electricity and generous subsidies in the 2005 federal Energy Policy Act, Constellation Energy has proposed constructing a 1,600 MWe nuclear reactor next to the two reactors operating at Calvert Cliffs. The new plant—larger than any existing nuclear reactor in the U.S.—would not be completed until well into the next decade, and would be licensed to operate for 40 years. Its operation would not be a benefit to Maryland. Nuclear power is an expensive energy source at every stage, from plant construction to waste disposal and decommissioning.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Court Reinstates Case Against Bank That Aided Senior Citizen Fraud | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the 3rd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that had denied class action status to victims of a scheme targeting senior citizens who were suing Zions Bank and its payment processor affiliates for aiding the fraudsters. U.S. regulators led by the Department of Justice have been fighting this and similar schemes, yet powerful special interests have managed to create a false narrative in Washington, DC that has been picked up by opponents of consumer protection laws. They falsely claim that the government's target is "legitimate" payday lenders and gun dealers. Wrong, the target is financial crimes against consumers, many consumers.

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Blog Post | Public Health

A soggy statement by Subway | Emily Scarr

The “eat fresh” champion served a soggy statement about their antibiotics policy this week. A Subway spokeswomen said, “We have been working toward the elimination of antibiotics... We cannot provide a date when all the work will get done as the demand is somewhat higher than supply right now.” That is not a commitment.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

IRS Admits Data Breach Worse Than Thought, Will Congress Do Wrong Thing Anyway? | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the IRS has admitted that thieves accessed the personal information -- enough to allow them to take your tax refund -- of an additional 220,000 taxpayers, on top of the 114,000 reported in May. Meanwhile, we remain  concerned that Congress will use continued publicity about the Target breach and other breaches as an excuse to pass dangerous data security legislation. Dangerous? Yes, because it would only protect against limited financial identity theft harms, but eliminate stronger state protections against the harms posed by the IRS breach, the health insurance breaches and the OPM breach.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

House To Vote On Godzilla-Sized Rule Blocker, As Financial Committee Considers Smaller Rollbacks | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED: REINS Approved, near party line vote. Today, the House Financial Services Committee takes up a package of smaller rollback bills, many of which are opposed by Americans for Financial Reform and the PIRGs. Meanwhile, the House will bring up the Godzilla of all anti-health and safety bills, the REINS Act. Fortunately, the President has promised a veto.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

The CFPB is 4 years old and has a lot to show for it! | Ed Mierzwinski

Tuesday, July 21, marks four years to the day since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its doors to protect consumers and make financial markets work. We've summarized some of the ways CFPB works for you on a new web page.

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DEFEND THE CFPB

Tell your representative to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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