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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | Ed Mierzwinski

(UPDATED 30 April): Last year the Department of Defense proposed needed improvements to the 2007 Military Lending Act, since high-cost lenders were exploiting loopholes to evade the law's 36% APR cap on loans to servicemembers to make loans at 400% APR or more, harming military families and threatening unit preparedness to defend the nation. Now, days before a committee vote, predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless, redundant studies are prepared. Only in Washington.

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News Release | Public Citizen, Maryland PIRG | Safe Energy

Marylanders Speak Out: State Shouldn’t Settle for Exelon’s Repackaged Bid to Take Over Pepco

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a sign of growing opposition to Exelon’s proposed takeover of Pepco, Marylanders from across the state registered their opposition (PDF) to a proposed settlement on the final day for public comment on it.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

Key MoCo Committee Funds Groundbreaking Fair Elections Program

(Rockville) - The Montgomery County Council held public hearings this week on the proposed FY16 budget. Concerned citizens testified at each hearing, calling on the County Council to put $2 million into the budget to fund fair elections (Public Election Fund).

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRG Commends Release of Labor Dept.'s Proposed Rule To End Conflicted Retirement Advice

PIRG today commended the public release of the Department of Labor’s proposed rule that would strengthen the ability for Americans to save for retirement by addressing conflicts of interest that arise when brokers and financial advisers give retirement advice. Wall Street will fight the rule hard, because it requires them to put consumers first.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

Maryland Small Businesses Foot $1 Billion Bill from Offshore Tax Dodging

As Tax Day approaches, it’s important to remember that small businesses end up picking up the tab for offshore tax loopholes used by many large multinational corporations. Today, Maryland PIRG released a new study by the Maryland PIRG Foundation revealing that the average Maryland small business owner would have to pay an extra $1,599 in taxes to make up for the money lost in 2014 due to offshore tax haven abuse by large multinational corporations. 

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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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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

 

As the number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the Maryland PIRG Foundation finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes will likely keep driving down for decades, according to the report, “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future.”

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Maryland Taxpayer $1,065 a Year, Maryland Small Business $3,245

April 15, Baltimore – On Tax Day, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. Maryland PIRG  released its  annual study showing the average Maryland  taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,065 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

Much-Needed Legislation Would Protect Americans from Unsafe Chemicals

Led by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 29 senators today introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013. Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin are original cosponsors of the legislation to provide long overdue fixes to the nation’s broken chemical policies and limit the use of unsafe chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

“A Huge Step Forward for Voter Participation”

The House of Delegates today gave final approval to SB 279, which would expand early voting and allow same day voter registration at early voting centers.  If the Senate concurs with the House amendments the bill will move to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

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Blog Post | Budget, Food, Tax

Ending Subsidies for Big Ag in the Farm Bill | Michael Russo

Current food policy has disproportionately subsidized the largest agribusinesses, who are already profitable and don’t need taxpayer handouts. And subsidized crops have often been used to produce unhealthy food. The current scheme of agriculture subsidies, including the notorious Direct Payments program, is heavily skewed towards largest agribusinesses, with only 4% of U.S. farmers pocketing 74% of subsidy payments. Directing taxpayer dollars to these mature, profitable businesses enriches them and allows them to prosper at the expense of smaller, unsubsidized farmers, without any benefit to the taxpayers who are footing the bill. 

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Blog Post | Food, Tax

Maryland PIRG Advocate Jenny Levin on the Senate vote today to approve the 2012 Farm Bill: | Jenny Levin

Maryland PIRG is disappointed in the Senate’s approval of the 2012 Farm Bill, which will send tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to Big Ag. The Senate missed a golden opportunity to tackle the problem of wasteful agricultural subsidies, which have cost taxpayers $260 billion since 1995.  Instead, this bill recommits to taxpayer support for the largest agribusinesses. 

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Blog Post | Democracy

U.S. PIRG Democracy Advocate on summary reversal in American Tradition Partnership vs. Bullock

Today the Supreme Court passed on the opportunity to revisit its disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision—which is wreaking havoc on democracy—and it has done so in a way that avoids giving the American public a much deserved explanation.

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Blog Post | Food, Tax

Senate Farm Bill Moves to Floor | Jenny Levin

The Senate is moving to vote on the farm bill, S.3240, that would continue the current system of agricultural subsidies to large, profitable, agribusiness. Taxpayers’ hard earned dollars will be handed out needlessly in the billions. And subsidies will continue for corn and soy, which is then processed into junk food ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup, accelerating the obesity epidemic in America. 

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Blog Post | Higher Ed

Statement of Rich Williams, U.S. PIRG Higher Education Advocate, on the Congressional passage of legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling:

"Congress listened to students and their families and delivered a bill that stops student loan interest rates from doubling," stated U.S. PIRG Higher Education Advocate Rich Williams. "Students already face unprecedented student loan debt and adding an additional $1,000 more would not only crunch individual borrowers, but would have further weighed down the recovering economy. We applaud Congress for coming together to pass this much-needed legislation."

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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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