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How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activity Into a Credit Score

This story in The Nation explains our work challenging the way data brokers use "black box," or secret, algorithms to make scoring decisions that may violate the law and deny credit opportunities. This work was also the subject of our recent livestream event featuring Professor Frank Pasquale and his new book, "The Black Box Society." We've now posted an archive of that event, in 3 chapters on our Youtube page.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Safe Energy

Statement in Response to Maryland PSC Ruling on Exelon Pepco Merger.

“We are disappointed that the Maryland Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve the merger between Chicago-based nuclear power giant Exelon Corp. and Pepco Holdings Inc. They should have stood up for Maryland ratepayers and rejected the anti-consumer merger.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Transportation

Statement on Amtrak Derailment

Statement by Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr on the May 12th Amtrak derailment along a curved stretch of track near Philadelphia. Reports indicate the train was traveling 106 miles per hour on a curve designated as safe for travel at 50 mph.

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News Release | Fair Elections Maryland Coalition | Democracy

Montgomery County Funds Groundbreaking Fair Elections Program

(Rockville) - The Montgomery County Council took an important step forward for fair elections in its FY16 budget by seeding the Public Campaign fund with a $1 million.

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Blog Post | Public Health

"Closer to Customers" | Emily Scarr

Steve Easterbrook, the President and CEO of McDonald's, last week put out a 23 minute video talking about changes afoot with the fast food giant. He bluntly said, "Our recent performance has been poor."

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News Release | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 105,027 Student Loan Borrowers in Maryland Double

 Due to Congressional inaction, the interest rates on federally subsidized student loans doubled on July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The change will affect 105,027 students in Maryland, and in total the rate increase will hike the cost of Maryland students’ loans by $95 million. That translates into a $909 increase in debt per student, per loan.  However, because most new student loans are issued in August and September, Congress can still pass a retroactive fix. 

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Media Hit

Some TV stations rise to challenge of covering Baltimore's bloody summer

O'Doherty also pointed to a report in January by the Maryland PIRG Foundation, which self-identifies as a consumer advocate organization, that gave Baltimore a B+ in transparency.  The grades were based on the ability of city residents to be able to track budgets, contracting grants and requests for quality-of-life services on a city's website.

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Big Pharma’s Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Big Pharma’s controversial “pay-for-delay” agreements took a hit today. In FTC v. Actavis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FTC’s case against the payoff keeping generic AndroGel from the market can move ahead in the lower courts.

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News Release | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 105,027 Student Loan Borrowers in Maryland Set to Double on July 1

Baltimore, MD– Unless Congress acts, on July 1, the interest rate for 105,027 student loan borrowers in Maryland will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. According to an issue brief released today by Maryland PIRG, the rate increase would hike the cost of Maryland students’ loans by $95,469,543 million. That translates into a $909 increase in debt per student, per loan.

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News Release | Public Health, Health Care

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

Baltimore, May 23 – The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new report released today by Maryland PIRG. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Food

POULTRY INDUSTRY AND USDA WANTS TO PUT DANGEROUS CHICKEN ON YOUR PLATES. | Jenny Levin

The new USDA proposed poultry inspection rule is being hailed as a commonsense, cost-saving rule by OIRA and of course the poultry industry.  It will purportedly streamline antiquated poultry inspection requirements, allowing companies to choose a more flexible approach with five-year savings apparently in excess of $1 billion. But in reality the proposed rule might actually put more dangerous chicken on your plate. 

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Blog Post | Democracy

Maryland PIRG New Voters Project Hits the Streets | Jenny Levin

The Maryland PIRG New Voters Project is a nonpartisan effort to help register young people and get them to the polls on Election Day. We believe the best way to get political leaders to pay attention to young people and our issues is to register and vote.

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Blog Post | Democracy

Youth vote a major factor in upcoming election | Jenny Levin

If you're between the ages of 18 and 30, you've been in the news a lot lately. Young voters can have a big impact this election, and here's how.

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Blog Post | Higher Ed

New Financial Aid Shopping Sheet Helps Students Know Before They Owe | Jenny Levin

Students have a tool to help them avoid student loan debt: the new financial aid shopping sheet, a simple form explaining the costs, financing options, and loan options for prospective students. 

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Blog Post | Budget, Food, Tax

MAD ABOUT THE FARM BILL | Jenny Levin

Earlier this month, the House Agricultural Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill with a 35-11 vote.  It was greatly anticipated, as the country needs a fair and common sense bill that cut wasteful spending. In years past, the Farm Bill has given out tens of billions in taxpayer dollars to large, mature agribusinesses, and subsidized commodity crops that are often processed into the junk food ingredients fueling the obesity epidemic.  Between 1995 and 2010 we gave out $260 billion in agricultural subsidies to the country’s largest farming operations. With the expiration of the present Farm Bill coming in September, Congress has an opportunity to end this wasteful corporate welfare.

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Priority Action

We're teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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